Slow-Braised Beef and Barley

Here, beef is simmered until meltingly tender while nourishing pot barley thickens the gravy to make a hearty casserole and juniper berries add a distinctive flavor. Serve slow-braised beef and barley with mashed potatoes and a green vegetable, such as green beans or spring greens.

Low Calorie Cookbook, Reader’s Digest


Servings Prep Time Cook Time Passive Time
4servings 20minutes 2-2 1/4hours 8hours marinating
Servings Prep Time
4servings 20minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
2-2 1/4hours 8hours marinating
Servings: servings
Servings: servings
  1. Put the beef in a mixing bowl with the garlic, bay leaves, juniper berries and thyme. Pour the red wine over, then cover and leave to marinate in the refrigerator at least 8 hours or overnight.
  2. The next day, preheat the oven to 325ºF. Put the pearl onions in a bowl and pour enough boiling water over to cover. Leave 2 minutes, then drain. When cool enough to handle, peel off the skins; set aside.
  3. Remove the beef from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the beef and brown on all sides; do this in batches, if necessary, so the Dutch oven is not overcrowded. Remove the beef from the Dutch oven as it is brown; set aside on a plate.
  4. Add the pearl onions to the Dutch oven and sauté until lightly colored, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the pot barley and cook 1 minute, stirring. Return the beef and any beefy juices to the Dutch oven. Pour in the stock and bring to a simmer.
  5. Strain the marinade into the Dutch oven, and add the bay leaves and sprig of thyme. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, transfer to the oven, and braise 45 minutes.
  6. Stir in the carrots, celery, and rutabaga. Cover again and braise until the beef, barley, and vegetables are tender, 1 to 1 1/4 hours longer. Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprig before serving the slow-braised beef and barley.
Recipe Notes

Plus Points:
Pot barley, also called Scotch barley, retains the outer layers of the grain (these are removed in the milling of pearl barley), so it contains the nutrients of the whole grain.
The barley grain contains gummy fibers called beta-glucans, which appear to have significant cholesterol-lowering properties.
Beef is an excellent source of iron in a form that can be efficiently absorbed and used by the body.

Some More Ideas:
The gravy is thick. If you prefer it slightly thinner, stir in an extra 1/2 cup beef stock 20 minutes before the end of the cooking time.
For Slowly Braised Lamb and Barley, use lean boneless stewing lamb, such as from the shoulder, instead of beef. Marinate the lamb overnight in 1 cup hard cider mixed with 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon light molasses, and 1 teaspoon soft dark brown sugar. Dry and fry the lamb as for the beef in the main recipe. Add 1 sliced onion to the Dutch oven and cook until beginning to color, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the barley and stir 1 minute. Pour in 1 cup lamb or vegetable stock, i cup tomato juice, and the marinade, with 1 sprig fresh rosemary. Cover and braise 45 minutes. Stir in 8 ounces baby carrots and 1 cup halved or quartered, peeled small turnips. Braise until all the ingredients are tender, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

Per serving: calories 367, protein 31 g, fat 10 g (of which saturated fat 3 g), carbohydrate 29 g (of which sugars 18 g), fibre 5 g