Autumn Barley Stew

by Apr 12, 2019

Wow, Summer passed us by quickly! The days have shortened, early mornings are darker, and the temperature has finally cooled down a bit.

In Chinese Medicine, Autumn is the element of Metal. The metal element encompasses the Lungs and Large intestine, and the immune system (hello cold & flu season!). Looking after your gut is key, in Chinese medicine, to keeping your immune system strong. Other advice on strengthening your Metal element include beginning to slow down your workouts (no need to sweat it out as much as you did in Summer!), practice deep breathing, and keep your neck and shoulders warm.

Today, we have an amazing, nourishing recipe for warming barley stew to nurture and strengthen your gut – to keep your immune system firing along this autumn. This delicious dish can be easily adapted to be vegetarian and/or gluten free and is the perfect nourishing bowl of steaming goodness to look after our digestive system and start to slow down after the summer heat and craziness – and it’s perfect for those cooler, cloudy or rainy days (like today!). This recipe takes some time to cook, but boy is it worth it! It could probably be adapted for the slow cooker, too.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1L bone broth or vegetarian broth (here’s a recipe for a great veggie broth if you want to step it up a knotch!)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach or other leafy greens

How to make it:

  1. Add a splash of oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, herbs, cinnamon and bay leaves, and sauté for about 5 minutes until the onion has begun to soften.


  2. Add the garlic, soy (or tamari), bones (if using) and barley (or alternative grain) and fry for about 10 minutes until the bones change colour, adding a few splashes of wine as needed to stop it from sticking.
  3. Add the sweet potato, pumpkin and carrot and fry for 5 minutes to slightly brown. Add the broth and 500ml filtered water and cover. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cook for 3–4 hours.
  4. After 3-4 hours, the stew will have formed a crust but still have liquid underneath – this is how you know it’s ready. If it’s not yet ready, uncover and reduce until a crust forms (or if you like it super soupy, leave as is). The barley should be soft but not overcooked. Remove the bones, stir through the spinach and season to taste. Serve as is or with a fresh salad on the side.

 Most importantly – enjoy!



This recipe has been adapted from The Village by Matt & Lentil  – found here.

About the Author:
Dr. Grace Jones (BHSc.Acu) is the founder and primary practitioner at Bloom Chinese Medicine and has been in full time practice since early 2014. Grace is passionate about working in the areas of fertility, IVF support, pregnancy, and gynaecological (women's health) conditions. She is highly trained in these areas and is comprehensively trained in the highly effective Fertile Life Method. Grace is also passionate about improving women’s health and the myriad of conditions that can occur such as endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), hormonal imbalances, dysmenorrhea (period pain), amenorrhea and pelvic pain, among others. Learn more about Grace here.

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Acupuncture with Grace is an integrative Chinese medicine and acupuncture clinic committed to providing the best outcomes for our patients, and empowering them along their journey to optimal fertility and wellness. Centrally located in Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast, we have visitors from local suburbs and all over Queensland. Proudly servicing Buddina, Maroochydore, Mooloolaba, Alexandra Headland, Buderim, Kawana, Minyama, Parrearra, Warana, Birtinya, Bokarina, Wurtulla, Little Mountain, Caloundra, Aroona, Bells Creek, Meridian Plains, Palmview, Sippy Downs, Mountain Creek, Kuluin, Kunda Park, Diddillibah, Twin Waters, Pacific Paradise, Mudjimba, Marcoola, Bli Bli, Coolum, Yaroomba, Yandina, Ninderry, Valdora, Peregian Springs, Peregian Beach, Doonan, Noosaville, Noosa, Noosaville, Tewantin, Doonan, and Nambour.