beef and barley stew

by Leah Halmagyi


  • 800g chuck beef, diced
  • sea salt flakes and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp plain flour
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 heads fennel
  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped
  • 12 cloves garlic, sliced
  • ½ bunch thyme leaves
  • 2 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry sherry
  • 1½L beef stock
  • ½ cup pearl barley
  • 2 cups mixed baby tomatoes, halved
  • 1½ cups shelled soy beans*
  • 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped


Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 3½ hours
Serves: 6

1 Season the beef generously with salt and pepper, then toss in flour and set aside for 10
minutes. Pour the extra virgin olive oil into a large heavy-based saucepan over a high heat
and fry the beef in batches until well-browned. Set aside.
2 Chop one head of fennel and add to the saucepan with the onion, celery, garlic, thyme
and bay leaves. Cook for 5 minutes. Mix in the tomato paste, cook briefly, the add the
sherry and stock.
3 Return the beef, turn the heat to low and cook gently for 1½ hours. Mix in the barley
and cook for a further 1½ hours. Mix in the tomatoes and soy beans and cook for 10
minutes. Stir in the parsley, then serve.