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Bowl of beef stew next to a spoon and napkin

Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Barley and Fall Vegetables

A hearty and delicious beef stew with barley, potatoes, butternut squash and parsnips.  Perfect for a cozy night in!
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Course: dinner, soups and stews
Cuisine: Nordic, Scandinavian
Keyword: beef and vegetable stew, easy beef stew, slow cooker stew
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories: 970kcal
Author: Kristi


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil divided
  • 2 ½ - 3 pounds beef chuck roast trimmed and cut into 4-5 large pieces
  • 1 onion diced medium
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ¼ cup dry red wine
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¾ pound small red or yellow potatoes halved or quartered if large
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash 1 inch cubes
  • 2 parsnips or carrots peeled and cut into rounds (rounds halved if large)
  • ½ cup pearl barley
  • 1-2 teaspoons white balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Special Equipment Needed:


  • Add one tablespoon oil to a 12 inch skillet and heat over medium-high.  Season beef with salt and pepper.  Add beef to the pan and saute until browned, about 5-7 minutes.  Transfer to the slow cooker.
  • Add remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet and reduce heat to medium low.  Add onion, garlic and thyme.  Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is soft and translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add tomato paste and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add wine and soy sauce and continue cooking until wine is almost completely evaporated, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any brown bits that remain.  Add chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Transfer mixture to the slow-cooker.
  • Add beef broth, bay leaf, potatoes, squash, parsnips or carrots and pearl barley to the slow-cooker.  Cover and cook on high for 4 hours.
  • Remove beef from the slow cooker using a slotted spoon or tongs.  Set aside to cool slightly.  Shred into bite size pieces and return to the pot.
  • Add vinegar one teaspoon at a time, adding more if necessary.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve garnished with chopped fresh parsley.


Calories: 970kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 88g | Fat: 54g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Cholesterol: 287mg | Sodium: 1187mg | Potassium: 2152mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 8571IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 140mg | Iron: 11mg