Saturday, January 17, 2009

To take the chill off: beef and barley stew

Leemei Tan from My Cooking Hut invited me to do a "guest post" about food and photography with a winter recipe. She has posted both today - hop over and see. What fun to be invited to participate in someone else's blog!

For the post, I developed a recipe for a hearty beef and barley stew. It took several tries to get it the way I wanted it but all of the rejects were delicious so no complaining here! I'm posting the recipe below. See Leemei's blog for the rest of the story.

Hearty winter beef and barley stew
(makes 3-4 servings)

1 – 1¼ pounds chuck roast, chopped into ~1 inch cubes
5 cups cold water
A few springs Italian flat leaf parsley plus chopped parsley to garnish
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 medium yellow onion, halved
4-5 medium carrots
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 cup frozen pearl onions
2-3 smallish waxy potatoes: blue make for a nice color contrast with the other ingredients but any waxy potato will do
2 medium Jerusalem artichokes or parsnips
¼ cup pearled barley
Vegetable oil for cooking
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Season beef generously with salt and pepper on all sides. Heat 1-2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet and brown beef on all sides.

Transfer beef to a 5-6 quart Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Add water, thyme sprigs, 1-2 sprigs Italian flat leaf parsley, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, half of the yellow onion (skin on is fine) and a whole carrot (skin on is fine). Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 30-40 minutes. Remove thyme, onion and carrot.

Meanwhile, cut potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes or parsnips into 3/4 inch cubes and peel and chop remaining carrots into 1 each pieces. Re-heat pan used to brown the beef (add a little additional oil if necessary) and cook cut vegetables plus whole pearl onions for several minutes until they begin to brown. Take care not to crowd the pan. If your pan is not big enough, brown in batches.

After beef mixture has cooked 30 minutes per the above, add the barley and browned vegetables plus a generous sprinkling of kosher salt and pepper. Bring temperature back up to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer, partially covered for an additional 30-40 minutes. At this point,the sauce will have thickened and the beef will be fork-tender. If sauce is not thick enough for your liking, remove cover, raise temperature and cook a little longer. If too thick, add cold water in ¼ cup increments until consistency is as desired. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve with a sprinkling of chopped flat leaf parsley.


Anonymous said...


Thanks again for being my guest! Your hearty winter beef and barley stew really wins my heart! I love the copperware!

Anonymous said...

That picure looks amazing! Just like a magazine. I really enjoyed your post and the photography tips. I never thought of having a table on casters-I usually just carry around my place setting on a baking sheet-thats a great idea.

Anonymous said...

Great photos!!!

You're photography is improving tremendously!

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All my best,

Anonymous said...

Great idea to add barley. Don't know why I never thought of it. Did you have tomatoes in any of your prior tries and nix them? Just curious. szane

Unknown said...

that looks really comforting, S.

Laura said...

What a stroke of genius...I've only ever thought of beef and barley in the context of a soup, not a stew!

Anonymous said...

Just love a warm stew for these winter months. The photos are just lovely. It's a wonder you make a stew look so good!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to make this!

Scott at Real Epicurean said...

Saw your post over at MyCookingHut - very useful tips indeed!

Cannelle Et Vanille said...

oh so perfect sabra!

Sabra said...

Thanks for leaving comments here - I was afraid I'd be lonely over here! So glad you enjoyed the post and the photography tips. Barley is great in the soup - it really makes it very filling and helps to thicken the sauce nicely. I did not put tomatoes in because that was not what I was in the mood for but they certainly would go well. I'd add them when you add the other vegetables if you do.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't get much better than that.
I love those little Pearl Onions.

Cool pot too. Is it copper?

Rasa Malaysia said...

Yes, I also adore your photography and your blog. They are always sublime, just like your food. :)

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