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Comforting Barley & Pumpkin Beef Stew

There's nothing more comforting than a bowl of beef stew—unless, of course, it's a bowl of steaming hot beef stew loaded with lots and lots of barley. Now this is comfort food at its best—a bowl of stew robust enough to be a meal on its own. Rinsing the barley will help remove any dust, dirt or debris. —Colleen Delawder, Herndon, Virginia
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. Cook: 6 hours
  • Makes
    9 servings (3-1/2 quarts)


  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pepper, divided
  • 1-1/2 pounds beef stew meat
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cartons (32 ounces each) beef broth
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
  • 1 cup medium pearl barley
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Optional: Additional red pepper flakes and minced fresh parsley


  • In a shallow dish, mix flour, cornstarch, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and toss to coat. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; brown meat in batches. Transfer meat to a 5- or 6-qt. slow cooker. In the same skillet, cook and stir onion in drippings until tender, 6-8 minutes; add to slow cooker. Stir in broth, pumpkin, barley, thyme, garlic powder and red pepper flakes. Cook, covered, on low until meat is tender, 6-8 hours. If desired, serve with additional red pepper flakes and parsley.
Nutrition Facts
1-1/2 cups: 211 calories, 8g fat (2g saturated fat), 35mg cholesterol, 819mg sodium, 20g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 4g fiber), 15g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 lean meat, 1 starch, 1 fat.

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