1 1/2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
2 (14 ounce) cans peeled tomatoes, with juice
1 (14 ounce) can water
1/2 cup uncooked barley
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cooked and peeled potatoes, cut into chunks (optional)
Brown meat in olive oil in skillet over medium heat, about 3 minutes.
Remove meat from pan and set aside.
Add carrots, onion and celery to pan and cook until slightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add vegetables to crock pot. Place meat on top of vegetables. Add tomatoes, water and barley. Stir in sugar, salt and pepper.
Cover and cook on LOW for about 7 hours, adding cooked potatoes to stew during last 30 minutes of cooking.