• 2 lbs stew meat – look for nicely marbled beef chunks
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 10 C water
  • 3 mounded Tbsp good quality beef base – I use Better than Bouillon Brand Beef Base
  • 3 stalks celery – chopped
  • 2 onions – chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic – minced
  • 1 large potato – peeled and shredded
  • 3 large carrots – peeled and shredded
  • 1 C quick pearl barley – rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce


  1. Place a slow cooker liner bag in your crockpot (*see Notes below)
  2. Generously salt and pepper the beef
  3. In a large pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat
  4. When the oil is very hot, add 1/3 of the meat, as you will do this in 3 batches – if you add it all at once it will steam the meat instead of browning it
  5. Brown for about 2 minutes per side
  6. After each batch, transfer meat to the crockpot
  7. Add 2 C water to the pot you browned the meat in – NOT the crockpot
  8. Bring to a boil
  9. Stir up all the browned bits
  10. Add it, along with the remaining 8 C of water to the crock pot
  11. Add beef base, celery, onions and garlic and stir
  12. Cook on low for 6 hours
  13. Add potatoes and carrots
  14. Continue to cook on low for another hour
  15. Add the barley and worcestershire sauce
  16. Continue to cook on low for another hour, or until the barley is tender


  1. For easy clean up, I always use a slow cooker liner bag – make sure if you use a slow cooker liner bag, that you buy the specific liner bag that is made for Slow Cookers, DO NOT use anything else or it will melt and ruin your food!