Beef & Barley Stew
Doesn't that sound good? It is. Really good.
Every winter I find a different go-to beef stew. Then I find I make it once a month or so until spring. This year I've settled on beef & barley.
This isn't hard to make but it takes a bit of time. Here are the basic ingredients (this serves 6):
2 pounds beef (chopped London broil or stew meat)
1 large onion - chopped
2 large carrots - chopped
2 T tomato paste
6 cloves garlic - minced
1 C dry red wine
2 C water, 4 C chicken stock
1 C pearl barley
Fresh chopped parsley, Salt, Pepper, Olive Oil
The first step, in my opinion, is the most important. You MUST brown the beef. This step will be messy. Make sure you put on an apron.
If you bought a London Broil, chop it to about 1" squares. Costco sells a huge package of stew meat (like 5 lbs or something). That is what I used here. The nice thing about Costco's meat is it is already chopped and you can freeze half for next months beef barley stew! Now season the beef heavily. And then season it some more. Lots of course salt and pepper!
Get a dutch oven or big heavy bottom stockpot. Heat over medium high heat. Throw in some olive oil. Add HALF the beef. Don't crowd it. Now wait. Seriously wait. If you try to move a piece and it sticks.... you need to WAIT some more. After you do this a few times you'll be able to tell by smell when they are ready.
Now turn the beef & brown on all sides. This is what you are wanting to see. Remember you don't need it cooked through... only REALLY browned on all sides.
Remove the meat to a bowl or plate & repeat with the other pound. Set it all aside.
At this point you should have a little fat rendered in the bottom of the stockpot. If you don't, throw in some more olive oil. This is what the bottom of my pot looked like after browning 2 pounds of beef.
Now, reduce the heat to medium and dump in those chopped carrots and onion. Season w/ salt & pepper. Cook until golden - 10 minutes or so.
Add garlic & tomato paste.
Cook while stirring until caramelized - 2 minutes.
Add wine. Reduce by half.
Return the beef to the pot along w/ all the juices.
Then add the water & stock. Bring to a full boil.
Then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and wait. For an hour. Stir it occasionally.
Cover and cook for another 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Then uncover and simmer for yet another 30 minutes.... or until it is dinner time.
Throw in the parsley, taste for seasoning.
Here is a closer look. Can't you almost smell it? So good. Enjoy!