Slow Cooked Beef & Guinness Stew with Pearl Barley & Veggies

Prep Time:20 mins, Cook Time: 8 hrs, Total Time: 8 hrs, 20 mins

March 22, 2014

Eat Your Veg | Slow Cooked Beef & Guinness Stew

(un) Fashionably late againΒ to the party here’s my nod to St Patrick’s Day with a Beef & Guinness Stew. Not one to appreciate the nasty fake green foods that usually surround the event I opted for a sensible and wholesome stew with Guinness as it’s main flavour component. A stew I’ve actually been making for years, one way or another, but this time I opted to slow cook it in my new baby, a Morphy Richards slow cooker which was love at first site. If you don’t happen to own one this is just as easily made, and indeed considerably faster, on the hob in a large casserole pot which is how I’ve been making it for years.

I’m very thrifty with my meat when it comes to stews or casseroles, realising that a little goes a very long way, especially when bulked out with a grain like pearl barley and lots of lovely root veggies. Although I’ve listed 500g of stewing or braising beef (both cheaper cuts that love a long slow cooking) I usually use quite a lot less myself, often nearer the 300g mark. And bearing in mind this one pot will easily feed a family of four twice this is most definitely a frugal dish.

Stews are a great way to get lots of good stuff into little tums. As the overall flavour of the gravy is such a tasty one I don’t think they notice the barrage of veggies or grains they’re actually tucking into! And because the meat itself is meltingly tender it’s easier for little kids to eat. My two, though particularly Francesca, have a problem with eating meat that has to be chewed in any way and for that reason we rarely bother with steak or pork. But given a stew they’ll both happily devour, especially when served with a mountain of their beloved mash. I always serve with a steamed green veggie too for variety, colour and added nutrition.

And just before I go, I do realise these are awful pics. I tried twice to get a half decent shot, though admittedly both times were somewhat hurried, and then alas the stew was gone. Stews are my nemesis, so tricky to capture nicely! Anyone have any top tips?

Eat Your Veg | Slow Cooked Beef & Guinness Stew Recipe

I’m entering a few challenges with my Beef & Guinness Stew:

1) To Karen’s Cooking with Herbs event over at Lavender and Lovage, as this month the theme so happens to be Rosemary, probably my most frequently used herb!

2) To Extra Veg, a challenge co-hosted by Fuss Free Flavours and this month Utterly Scrummy.

3) To Credit Crunch Munch, hosted by Fab Food 4 All and Fuss Free Flavours.

Beef Stew Challenge Logos

The Good Stuff:

Carrots, Celery, Onions, Parsnip, Sweet Potato, Pearl Barley

Great For:

Toddlers, Big Kids, Grown Ups, Sunday Lunch, Weekend Slowies, Slow Cooker Owners, Guinness Fans, St Patrick’s Day, Winter Warmers, Thrifty Eats


This makes enough to feed a family of four twice, I always go a little overboard on stews and casseroles as if you’re cooking food for this long you may as well do double and economise as much as possible. If you don’t fancy the extra you could always half quantities or freeze the excess.
Feel free to vary your veggies as to what you have in, pumpkin, butternut, swede, turnip, celeriac all work really well too.

Special Equipment:

A large frying pan, a slow cooker OR a large casserole

Slow Cooked Beef & Guinness Stew with Pearl Barley & Veggies

Ingredients Prep Time:20 mins, Cook Time: 8 hrs, Total Time: 8 hrs, 20 mins

500g lean braising or stewing beef, cut into 3-4cm chunks
1 tablespoon plain flour
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons rapeseed or olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 celery sticks, sliced (to about the thickness of a pound coin)
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into chunks
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 heaped tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Marmite
1 x 440ml can Guinness
500ml good beef stock (I’m loving Knorr Rich Beef stock pots)
125g pearl barley

1) Place the flour and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper in a bowl and tip in the chunks of beef. Roll around until evenly coated.
2) Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a large frying pan (OR the casserole dish if you’re not slow cooking). Brown the meat on all sides on a medium heat, remove from the pan and set aside.
3) Add the other tablespoon of oil to the pan and saute the onion, celery and carrots for 10 minutes, stirring regularly so nothing catches. Add the garlic for a further minute.
4) If you’re slow cooking, tip the veggies and meat into the slow cooker pot along with ALL the other ingredients and a very generous pinch of black pepper, cook for 8 hours on Medium or 10 hours on Low.
If you’re cooking on the hob add the meat and all the other ingredients to the casserole dish, bring to a simmer and cook for 2 hours on a low heat with the lid on (or until the meat is very tender).
Serve with mash and a steamed green veggie.

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12 thoughts on “Slow Cooked Beef & Guinness Stew with Pearl Barley & Veggies

  1. Janie

    I am so with you on the “nasty fake green foods” I had to boycott pinterest for a few days as it left me feeling nauseous! πŸ™‚
    Janie x
    PS only hint I can think of is to dish the stew up quite dry and try to pile the food up in the centre of the bowl, and then sprinkle with something ‘real and green’ such as coriander, spring onions, basil etc to add contrast.

  2. Glamorous Glutton

    This looks very delicious. The tip given us at FBC last year for styling and photographing things like stew and curry is to take the sauce and put that on the plate and then using a brush take most of the sauce off the meat and large bits of veg you want to show and then arrange them on the sauce. Bit of a faff, but it does work. GG


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