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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Shannon's Beef and Barley Stew


I am a soup master. There, I said it. But seriously, I have been pumping out some ridiculously delicious soups all winter long. Full-flavored, chunky (or not, depending), savory and all-around perfect soups. Brag, brag, brag. I know. So last night I made a bomb soup, (actually more like a stew) from a recipe Amy's sister, Shannon, gave me a couple of years ago. I thought I was going to make a traditional Irish-style beef stew, with potatoes and maybe peas, but I could not find my bag of potatoes from Trader Joes.  Did the kids sneak off with them for some god-forsaken purpose? Will I find them, sprouted and moldy, in a closet someday? Hmmm.

Anyhoo, I remembered this soup from Shannon, and low and behold it was filed away in my "Recipes" folder. (Feeling organized!).  I modified things, based on what I had.  The result: perfect winter stew. Yum. We served it with fresh sourdough bread smothered with butter.

You Will Need:

1-2 lbs Beef Stew Meat (Lamb would be excellent, too)
1.5 cups dry barley
3 carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, or 1 tsp of minced garlic
1 tbsp tomato paste
salt
pepper
garlic powder
olive oil
quart of stock (I used chicken)
Better than Beef Bouillon (kitchen necessity)


Put the stock in the crockpot on low. Heat a cast iron frypan on medium-high, add some olive oil. Sprinkle stew meat with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. When oil is nice and hot, add stew meat. Once brown (approx 5 minutes), add beef to warm broth in crockpot. In remaining juices in frypan, saute onion, garlic and celery. Add some salt, pepper, herbs of your choosing (oregano good, little sprinkle of red pepper flakes). After 7 or so minutes, add onion/celery to crockpot, as well as diced carrots. Add tomato paste. Add barley. Use less than 1.5 cups barley for a thinner soup.

Now let your slow cooker do the work! 6-10 hours later, your house has slowly filled with the mouth-watering aroma of onion and meat and garlic. You keep opening the lid to smell and sample, though you tell yourself you should keep it closed so everything cooks right. Add a tbsp of the Better than Beef Bouillon at the end.

If I had had kale on hand, I would have chopped it up real finely and added to the stew with the carrots, for nutritional benefit. Gotta sneak the green stuff into the kids anyway you can, ya know? Kale in soups is just one of my sneaky vegetable inserts. It would taste lovely, too. 

Serve with bread and butter.

(Alas, my picture quality is poor.  Bad lighting at night...)



1 comment:

Shannon said...

so glad you used the recipe jenny! thanks for posting it.. shannon :)