I was in the upper peninsula of Michigan last year and I visited a great B&B where they served this dish. While I’m very familiar with bison stew, the added use of barley brings out the flavor of this traditional New World favorite. This is a twist on a traditional beef barley stew. Instead of beef I used bison which makes for a leaner stew with less fat than a beef stew.

Servings: 6-8

  • 1# bison stew meat*
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 ½ C potatoes, diced
  • 1 ½ C carrots, sliced
  • 1 ½ C celery, diced
  • ¾ C onion, diced
  • 1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
  • ½ C barley
  • 1 ½ C mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 C red wine
  • 4 C water
  • 1 C frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ t pepper
  • ¼ t salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste

Step One

Heat olive oil over medium high heat.

Step Two

Add stew meat and brown on all sides.

Step Three

Add carrots, celery, and onions and sauté just until onion softens, approximately 3 minutes.

Step Four

Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer until barley is cooked through, approximately 30 minutes.

Step Five

Adjust seasoning to taste.

*If you can’t find bison stew meat, you can simply use a cut up bison roast or a couple buffalo steaks. Both are getting easier to find from your local butcher.


To make this vegetarian, omit the stew meat, increase mushrooms to 2 ½ C and increase barley to 1 C.

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