Cooking Monster

Beef & Barley Stew

Now that Gourmet Magazine is no more, I’m getting emails from their successor, Bon Appetit. The other day, they sent me an email that described a stew that sounded great, although their recipe was fully vegetarian and relied on mushrooms for the umami. Mushrooms just don’t cut it in my house, since my wife seems to have some sort of allergy to them, so I made the recipe but replaced the mushrooms with small diced pieces of chuck. The results were quite delicious. A fine dinner for a autumn or winter night.

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 8-ounce chuck steak, half-inch dice and trimmed of almost all fat
1 ½ cups chopped leeks (about 2 small stalks; white and pale green parts only)
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 cup pearl barley
4 cups (or more) vegetable broth
1
bunch kale (about 8 ounces), trimmed, center stalks removed, leaves coarsely chopped.

Brown the beef in a little bit of the olive oil. Remove from pan and set aside. Sweat the leeks with a little salt in the residual fat, adding more oil if necessary – about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and herbs, and cook until fragrant – about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes, the meat, and the barley, and add the vegetable broth. Bring it to a boil, and then cover and lower the heat to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes. Add the kale, and maybe a little more stock if you have it (or water, or chicken broth). Simmer with the lid on for another 10 minutes, or until the kale and the barley are completely cooked.
Count on 5 or 6 good sized servings.

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