Hearty beef barley casserole

Hearty beef & barley casserole


Use blade steak instead of gravy beef and bacon instead of speck, if you prefer. We used a 28cm round cast iron casserole dish.Serve with chargrilled sourdough or your favourite mash or side dish. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Freeze for up to 3 months; thaw in the fridge, then reheat in a microwave.


  • 1.5 kilogram gravy beef, excess fat trimmed (see tips)
  • ¼ cup (40g) plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 350 grams piece speck, cut into 1cm (½in) pieces (see tips)
  • 300 grams mixed mushrooms, larger mushrooms halved
  • 2 onions (300g), chopped coarsely
  • 2 large carrots (360g), halved lengthways, sliced thickly
  • 2 trimmed celery stalks (200g), chopped coarsely
  • 1 cup (250ml) dry red wine
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 litre (4 cups) beef stock
  • ½ cup (100g) pearl barley, rinsed
  • 1 bunch kale (250g), stalks removed, leaves torn coarsely


  1. Preheat oven to 160°C.
  2. Cut beef into 4cm pieces. Place beef and flour in a large bowl; season. Toss beef to coat evenly in flour, shaking off excess.
  3. Heat half the oil in a 6.75 litre (27-cup) cast iron or other flameproof casserole dish (see tips) over high heat. Cook beef, in batches, stirring, for 8 minutes or until browned all over; use a little more oil if needed. Transfer each batch of beef to a large heatproof bowl.
  4. Heat remaining oil in same dish; cook chopped speck, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring, for a further 5 minutes. Transfer speck and mushrooms to same bowl as beef.
  5. Add onion, carrot and celery to dish; cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softened. Add wine; cook for 2 minutes or until reduced slightly. Add thyme, bay leaves, stock and barley; bring to the boil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Transfer to oven; cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 hours or until beef is very tender. Stir in kale leaves until wilted.