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 crockpot. 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.Servings: 2 to 4