• 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. Generously salt and pepper the beef
  2. In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat
  3. When the oil is very hot, add 1/3 of the meat
  4. Brown for about 2 minutes per side
  5. Transfer to a plate
  6. Repeat with remaining meat in 2 more batches – if you add it all at once it will steam the meat instead of browning it
  7. When all the meat is browned, add all the meat back to the pot
  8. Add water
  9. Add beef base
  10. Add the chopped celery, onions and garlic
  11. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to medium-low
  12. Simmer for 2 hours with the lid on
  13. Check to make sure the meat is tender – with a wooden spoon, test only one piece – it should fall apart easily
  14. If the meat is not tender, continue to cook for 15 minutes and test again
  15. Once the meat is tender, add shredded potatoes and carrots
  16. Bring to a boil
  17. Lower heat to low and simmer for 30 – 45 minutes, or until the carrots are tender 
  18. Add barley and worcestershire sauce
  19. Bring to a boil
  20. Lower heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, or until barley is tender


  1. If your soup has boiled down to become more stew-like, simply add more water and beef base