Friday, August 17, 2012

Who eats stew in the summer?

Well I do, I guess. It was a cooler-than-normal week here in good ol' Minny (jacket weather?! in August?!). Not weather that required stew, but I found a recipe, got antsy in my pantsy to try it, so here it is.

Beef Barley Stew:

This recipe was actually pretty easy to make. The hard part was letting it simmer for almost two hours...wafting delicious beefy aromas through the I sat and drooled and tried to ignore my growling stomach.

Off we go!

Gathering of the ingredients. I actually had most of the ingredients!

The first 10 minutes was me just slicing and dicing. onions, celery, carrots, baby bella mushrooms, garlic. The recipe gave discrete measurements but I just kind of eyeballed amounts. Per usual.

I was also browning some beef in a big ol' dutch oven. Wedding registries come in handy for expensive cookware, let me tell you. I used leftover bits from a chuck roast I had frozen down, but they sell straight-up stew meat at my grocery store, so I bet you could get that if it were cheaper.

After it browned a little I added the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and some salt and pepper and let it cook down a little.

After that went in a cup each of crushed stewed tomatoes, beef broth, water, and some merlot, and the herbs. The recipe called for dried thyme but I just tossed in some fresh sprigs from the garden. The best part about a stew is that all the leaves (and thus the deliciousness) of these stalks will fall off during cooking into the stew, making less work for me. All you have to do is pick the stems out at the end, along with the bay leaves.

Simmer for an hour. Yum. The smells were flippin' awesome.

After an hour of unbearable waiting, I had to put in the barley and wait for that to cook, another 45 minutes. Then, at the very end, a couple tablespoons of balsamic vinegar for that extra oomph.

A-boy, was it worth it though. I chopped a little fresh parsley and sprinkled it on top.

YUM. This stew was gobbled down, piping hot, in the middle of August. That's how good it was. Plus it made a TON, so we had leftovers for a couple of days. I bet you could freeze it down for later also.

Hubby said this was a definite keeper!!


  • 1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups sliced baby portobello mushrooms
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) stewed tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup uncooked medium pearl barley
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Minced fresh parsley, optional


  • In a Dutch oven, cook beef in oil until meat is no longer pink. Add the carrots, onion and celery; cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cook 1 minute longer. Add the mushrooms, stewed tomatoes, water, wine, broth, bay leaves, salt, thyme and pepper.
  • Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour. Add barley; cover and simmer 45 minutes longer or until barley and meat are tender.
  • Combine flour and cold water until smooth. Gradually stir into pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat. Discard bay leaves. Stir in balsamic vinegar just before serving. Sprinkle each serving with parsley if desired. Yield: 6-8 servings.

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