Question: What beracha does one make before and after eating a regular cholent made of potatoes, meat, beans and barley?
Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (OC 208:2) writes that when a cooked dish contains one of the five grains (wheat, barley, spelt, oats and rye) the correct beracha is mezonos even if the grain is not the main ingredient providing that it wasn’t added to bind the ingredients together. Thus, the Aruch Hashulchan (OC 208:18) writes that one should recite mezonos on dishes such as noodles mixed with potatoes even if there are more potatoes than noodles in the mix.
However, the Aruch Hashulchan (OC 212:2) writes that it depends how big the pieces in the mixture are. Thus, if the meat and potatoes are cut into small pieces in a manner that a typical spoonful may contain pieces of each, one would just recite mezonos.
If the potato and meat pieces are bigger, though, such that the pieces would typically be removed and eaten alone, then it is no longer considered to be a mixture and one should make separate berachos.
If one isn’t sure which category their cholent falls into, one can’t just say all the berachos as saying mezonos might render the other berachos unnecessary (Mishna Berura 168:43). Dayan Gavriel Krausz (Mekor Haberacha 23:5) advises in this instance that one removes the other ingredients and says ha’adama and shehakol before saying mezonos (See Teshuvos Vehanhagos 2:146).
One would only say al hamichya if one has eaten a kezayis of the barley within 3-4 minutes (kedei achilas peras). Otherwise, one would recite borei nefashos afterwards.
In conclusion, one should say mezonos on cholent providing that the pieces are small. Large pieces of potatoes and meat should be removed first to make separate berachos on. One says borei nefashos after eating cholent unless one ate a kezayis of barley.