This soul-soothing, tasty beef mince and pearl barley stew is a winter warmer indeed. We got the idea by combining a beef chilli with a traditional beef mince and dumpling stew, and the experiment paid off. The pearl barley gives us the wonderful risotto type texture, along with a delicious, hearty gravy. A dumpling or two is all you need and you will not be missing any extra carbs such as bread or rice; it’s all in the bowl in this one pot wonder. You can serve with a bit of sour cream, coriander, lime wedges, chillies, or maybe some avocado; the choice is yours!


Ingredients (serves 4-6)

  • 500g beef mince
  • 100g pearl barley
  • 1 tin tomatoes (400g)
  • 600ml beef stock
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 1 small turnip
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tin of green lentils (390/400g)
  • 2 heaped tsp ground cumin
  • 1 heaped tsp ground coriander
  • 1 green chilli (add more to taste)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the dumplings;

  • 75g self raising flour
  • 25g cornmeal
  • 30g cold butter
  • 50ml cold water
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. Peel the carrot, turnip and onion and dice them all to the same size, roughly one by one cm. Cut the ends off of the celery and roughly cut to the same size.
  2. With 2 tablespoons of oil, sweat off the vegetables in a large pan. Once the onion is soft, finely dice the chilli and garlic and add to the pan as well, along with the tomato purée.
  3. Turn the heat up to add a slight bit of colour and then add the beef stock, tin tomatoes, bay leaf and thyme. Thoroughly wash the pearl barley and add to the pan as well.
  4. Bring to the boil and then turn down low to a simmer.
  5. In a separate frying pan, with about a tsp of oil, fry off the minced beef on a high heat to add colour, making sure you break it down.
  6. When the meat is browned, add to the pot and stir in well.
  7. Leave to simmer for 15 minutes whilst you make your dumplings.
  8. To make your dumplings, mix the self-raising flour with the cornflour, salt, cumin, ground and fresh coriander and rub the butter in with your fingers to make a crumb.
  9. Mix in the water slowly until it forms a firm dough, you may not need all of the water.
  10. Divide into 8 pieces and roll into balls and flatten slightly.
  11. Add the dumplings to the stew, slightly submerged and cook for a further 30 minutes with the lid on. You will need to give it a slight stir on the bottom every now and then to ensure that the pearl barley does not catch and burn.
  12. Serve!



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