Archive for November, 2017

November 16, 2017

Beef and Barley Stew

Just in time for winter! Also, I just started reading this fantasy series called the Farseer Trilogy and there’s nothing like a good fantasy novel while eating bread and stew. And a slab of cheese. And perhaps some wine.



  • 1.5 lb beef chuck
  • 1 small onion, diced (1/2 cup)
  • 1 small celery root*, diced (~1cup)
  • 2 small/medium carrots, diced (~1 cup)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup hulled barley**
  • salt. lots of it.
  • black pepper

*feel free to substitute with regular celery. I like my stew chunkier so I use celery root. Has the taste of celery but with better texture and substance.

**pearled barley has a better texture. Chewier. Firmer. Also takes longer to cook. Follow cooking instructions on the bag so you know how to adjust for cooking time.

Fresh herbs are of course the better option, but I don’t have them lying around often and it requires an herb sachet so that they don’t turn into unsightly green slime in your finished product. Feel free to serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley if you like. Another note, DO get the beef chuck. NEVER prepackaged “stew meat”. Yuck. Chuck is not great for steak as it has a lot of connective tissue. But in a slow cooking stew, all that connective tissue that would otherwise be stringy and tough on a steak melts into a wonderfully silky stew.


  1. Cut beef chuck into thumb size pieces. Not too small or it’ll get rubbery and hard when browning. Salt generously. Heat large dutch oven over medium high heat. When pan is hot, add 1tbs oil. Add meat in batches and brown evenly on all sides. Never crowd meat or you’ll steam it instead and get grey yucky meat. Searing gives it a nice brown crust and adds flavor to the stew later on.
  2. Remove meat and add carrots and celery(root). Salt generously again. Saute for 5min or so until browned but not soft yet. Remove and set aside.
  3. Add onions and garlic. Stir until just soft and garlic is fragrant. Season with parsley/thyme/rosemary/bayleaf. Salt and pepper.
  4. Add chicken stock and scrape up brown bits from bottom of the pot.
  5. Bring to a low boil then turn down heat to simmer and add beef back in. Cover and simmer (NOT boiling. No big bubbles) 2 hours. Stir at the half way point.
  6. Add veggies back in and simmer for another 30 min. (Add barley in at the same time if you’re using pearled barley.) Taste and salt if necessary. Keep in mind you’re adding a lot of starch soon, so err on the side of a bit too salty.
  7. Add barley and stir once, cook 15 min or as per package instructions.
  8. Turn off heat and check on barley. If it’s still a bit chewy, keep cover on pot and set aside for 10min.
  9. Serve with crusty bread. And cheese. And a glass of wine. And of course, a good book.