Barley and Beef Cook-ahead Casserole

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Category: Recipes

Casseroles are always better when they are cooked ahead and left overnight to ‘mature’. Pearl barley is rich in fibre and a source of B vitamins. Make this on a Friday and have food ready and waiting for the relaxing weekend!

Serves 6.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
800g lean braising steak. (Brisket also works well – see what is the best offer)
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 sticks celery, chopped
2 carrots, sliced into 1cm chunks
1 red pepper, de-seeded and chopped
1 green pepper, de-seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons tomato puree
200ml red wine
1 low salt beef stock cube
400g can chopped tomatoes
3 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
75g pearl barley
2 tbsp cider vinegar
Large handful of parsley, chopped

For this dish you will need an ovenproof casserole dish that is also suitable for the hob.


  • Preheat the oven to 180 C
  • Cut the beef into 1 inch chunks if it isn’t already done and cut off any visible fat.
  • Add the olive oil to the bottom of a large oven/hob proof casserole dish. Warm over a high heat and add the beef, in batches, and cook until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. The trick here is not to move the meat around too much, give it a chance to brown on each side.
  • Next add the chopped onion, celery, carrot and peppers along with a splash of water to the casserole and fry for 4-5 minutes until softened. Add the tomato puree and garlic and fry for a further minute.
  • Now return the beef to the casserole and pour in the wine, the stock cube dissolved in 500ml boiling water, the chopped tomatoes, and all the herbs.
  • Stir well, pop the lid on the casserole and cook in the oven for 1 ½ hours, stirring every now and then.
  • After this time, take the casserole out of the oven, and add the pearl barley. Simmer on the hob so that you can keep an eye on it for 30 minutes until the barley is tender. You may want to add a little extra wine or water at this stage if you feel the casserole needs more liquid.
  • Finally add the cider vinegar and chopped parsley and serve.

This is a great dish to cook once and eat 3 times! It will keep beautifully in the fridge for up to 6 days, so make a big batch and enjoy week long!

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