Cut the stew meat and vegetables into bite-size pieces.
Add the olive oil, meat, carrots, onions, kale and celery to a large soup pot. Cook over medium heat for ten minutes. The meat will brown, onions might start to caramelize, and the kale will wilt. The celery will soften but you probably won't notice a difference in the carrots.
While the meat and vegetables are browning, heat the beef stock to simmering.
If you'd like to deglaze the pan before adding the stock, do it now with a splash of red wine.
Add the beef stock, stewed tomatoes, pearled barley, bay leaves, garlic and thyme. Simmer for 60 minutes, until the barley is done.
Depending on how salty the beef stock is, you should add salt and also the pepper to taste before serving.