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Braised Beef Short Rib & Barley Stew

This beef short rib and barley stew recipe is the perfect meal for a cold winter's night.

To say this stew is hearty, would be an understatement. The addition of barley to this stew, adds a thickness that helps the warmth of the meal stick to your bones.

I love the use of beef short ribs in this as opposed to regular stew beef. Stew beef takes a long time to cook and I find it never gets quite as tender as the short rib. However, the short rib will cost about twice as much so, if stew beef is what you opt to use instead, marinate the beef for several hours to tenderize before cooking.

While pearl barley is not gluten-free, you can easily leave it out of this recipe in order to make this gluten-free. This is also dairy-free for those with dairy sensitivities.

Believe it or not, this can be made vegan. Swap the beef stock for vegetable stock and replace the short rib with seasoned cubes of tofu. Ensure you use vegan Worcestershire sauce and you're good to go!

I'm a big fan of adding any vegetables that happen to be on hand, so for instance if you have green beans that need a purpose, cut them up and add them to this stew. Kernel corn, broccoli and cauliflower florets, or parsnip are all good options, though limit the amount of parsnip as its strong flavour can easily dominate the dish.


TIP: If it looks like the fond is getting too dark on the bottom of the pot while you are braising the short ribs, add a splash of stock to lift the fond. Otherwise, as you sauté the onions, the fond should naturally lift.



(Makes 8 servings)

  • 1 lb beef short ribs, cut into individual pieces, bone-in

  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • pinch black pepper

  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced

  • pinch salt

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 package onion soup mix

  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped

  • 2 stalks celery, chopped

  • 1 turnip, chopped

  • 4 medium white or yellow potatoes, peeled and cubed

  • 1/4 cup pearl barley

  • 4 cups beef stock

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1/4 cup green peas

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • salt & pepper to taste



In a mixing bowl, add the cut beef short ribs, drizzle with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Mix to coat the short ribs evenly.

In a large pot, over medium-high heat, braise the short ribs so that they have a nice brown crust and a fond has formed on the bottom of the pan. Braise the short ribs in batches if needed. Remove the short ribs and reserve.

Add the onion to the pot with a pinch of salt and sauté until the onion begins to soften (approx. 4 minutes). Add the garlic, thyme, rosemary, and Worcestershire sauce then sauté for 1 minute before adding the carrot, celery and turnip. Stir to incorporate them into the onion and herbs. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the potato and mix. Sauté an additional 5 minutes, stirring regularly.

Add the pearl barley, short ribs, and stock to the pot and stir. The stock should cover the vegetables and meat. If not, add some additional water and increase the heat to high until it comes to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and bring it to a simmer. Cover the pot with a lid and allow to simmer, stirring periodically, until the meat is tender and falling off the bone (about 2.5 hours or more).

Remove the meat (and any bones that have fallen from the meat) and the bay leaf. Debone and pull or cut the cooked meat into bit-sized pieces. Return the meat to the pot. Discard the bay leaf and bones.

In a small bowl, add the cornstarch. Using a ladle, remove some of the liquid from the pot and add it to the bowl. Mix the cornstarch until smooth then pour into the pot. Add the peas and mix thoroughly. Allow to simmer an additional 10 minutes and until the gravy has thickened. Test the seasoning and add additional salt and pepper if needed.

Serve and enjoy.


Nutritional Information Per Serving:

total calories = 397 | total fat = 14.03g | saturated fat = 4.92g | cholesterol = 42.5mg | sodium = 1,609.4mg | carbohydrates = 50.99g | dietary fibre = 8.5g | sugars = 9.51g | protein = 19.23g

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