What are you using as your stock? Tomato sauce? Red wine? Maybe lighten up on the tomato sauce if that's what you're using.
I used to date someone that would make great vegetarian cholent, and they would add carmelized onions after the beans, barley, and potatoes had been simmering for a while and it would add an amazing smoky sweetness to the stew.
I'm no expert on Jewish cooking, so take it for what it's worth. Good luck.