In large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add beef; salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides. Remove from pan.
Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; add carrots, celery and onions; salt and pepper to taste. Sauté until onions are softened (about 3-5 minutes). Add mushrooms, thyme and bay leaf; sauté until mushrooms are softened.
Add beef and stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes; stir in barley and continue simmering until beef and barley are tender (about 45-60 minutes).
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