Beef and Barley stew

Old man winter has come and settled over us finally. The days are short and my inspirational urges to write, even shorter. The only reasonable way to make it through these long winter months is to make soup and stew, and a lot of it.

Beef and barley stew is usually a hit or miss affair for me. Sometimes it can be more like a mushy gruel than filling meal. It can taste only like the beef cuts that are added to it, or it can taste mostly, like nothing at all. With our province back in a sort of, pseudo lock down, I figured it might be a good time to try my hand at this dish once again.

I cruised the internet for ideas to make this a better stew than I’ve ever come up with before and I found a few key tricks that seemed to work wonderfully! Firstly, using a simmering steak and cooking it for a loooong time before making the stew. Second, use tomatoes. I know, weird for someone who hates them…. Third, bone broth. These three things created a really amazing stew that was hearty and had tons of flavour.

Cooking the steak with garlic and onion

The quantities that I used are more of a scaled down version than most stew recipes would have as well as I am cooking for one to two people only. And, even though this stew is amazing, it is a little bit heavy for me to be wanting to eat every day for a week.

Feel free to increase them as needed to feed a larger household, or if you would actually like to be able to eat this every day for a week.

The Recipe

The Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp butter, or other cooking fat, dealers choice.
  • 500g Simmering Steak (room temperature, salted and peppered)
  • 1/2 White Onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • Small can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup pot barley
  • 2 cups of bone broth (I used beef)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 carrot, cleaned, peeled, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, cleaned, diced
  • 10 mini cremini mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas
The process:
  • Heat stock pot to a high temperature then add the butter.
  • Sear room temperature steak on both sides to create a nice crust, then turn the heat down to a low simmer and add onion and garlic.
  • Cover and let cook for 1.5 hours. Checking occasionally to ensure it isn’t burning.
  • Once cooked, you should be able to pull the meat apart with two forks.
  • Stir in barley to coat and add tomatoes.
  • Add bone broth, water, oregano, salt and pepper to taste, and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil.
  • Once barley is mostly cooked, add carrot, celery, mushrooms and frozen peas. Let simmer until carrots and mushrooms are cooked.
  • Enjoy with some garlic sourdough toast.

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