Cook boneless short ribs of beef, nutty barley and earthy mushrooms low and slow in a deeply flavored beef, porcini and red wine broth. You will be rewarded with a delicious and satisfying stew that is the perfect example of comfort food to enjoy on a cool night.
I call this beef, barley and mushroom dish a stew but you might think of it more as a soup. The main difference is the amount of liquid that is used…the ingredients in a soup are usually submerged in liquids while the ingredients in stews are just barely covered. That is the preference of the cook as to how you want your dish to be served. This recipe is very adaptable and can be made either way. Additional vegetables can be added and the meat varied. You might want to use a chuck roast that you cut yourself, stew meat from your local market or boneless short ribs which I love for their rich, beefy flavor. I know that the short ribs I used can be a lot more expensive than chuck but whatever meat you end up using will be delicious if cooked properly. Just remember, do not cook the beef too quickly or you can end up with chewy, tough meat. Low and slow will produce the fork tender beef that you desire.
Beef, Barley And Mushroom Stew
Serves 4, adjust the recipe according
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
- 1 1/2 lb. chuck meat (I use boneless chuck short ribs) cubed into 1 1/2 inch pieces
- flour for dusting the meat
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 c. red wine
- 2 Tbsp. oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and cut in half
- 1 stalk of celery
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 c. mushroom broth (several pieces dried porcini mushrooms soaked in 1 c. boiling water, strained then filtered to remove sediment)
- 4 c. beef stock (chicken stock or a combination of the two may be substituted)
- 1 c. water, more or less (beef broth may be substituted)
- 1 c. more or less, peeled and cubed carrots
- 8 – 10 oz. cremini or button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 3 Tbsp. butter
- 1/2 c. pearled barley
- 4 c. water
- chopped parsley (optional) for garnish
Season the beef generously with salt and pepper, dust with flour and shake off the excess. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy ovenproof pot with a lid and brown the meat in batches (do not overcrowd). Remove the meat to a plate. Add the onion and cook until soft. Add the halved carrot and celery and cook about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, herbs and tomato paste, stir well and cook 1 minute. Deglaze the pot with the wine and let reduce by half. Add the broth to the pot then return the meat and any accumulated juices. Add enough water, if necessary, to cover the meat by at least one inch. Cover the pot with a lid and place in the the preheated oven. Check from time to time to make sure that the braising liquid is just at a simmer. Lower the heat, if necessary, so that it doesn’t boil. Cook until the meat is fork tender, approximately 2 hours, depending on the thickness of the meat. Take out of the oven and throw away the carrot, celery, thyme and bay leaves (they have given up all their flavor).
Meanwhile, bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil and add the barley. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, drain, and set aside. In a sauté pan, heat the butter and when hot, add the mushrooms and cook until golden brown and set aside.
When the stew is ready, skim off any accumulated fat, taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary. Add the mushrooms, barley and cubed carrots and cook for another 15 or 20 minutes, until the barley and carrots are tender. Taste one last time for any additional seasoning. Spoon into bowls and garnish with parsley, if desired. *The meat can also be braised on your stovetop at a low simmer or even prepared in a slow cooker.
This beef stew cooked with nutty tasting barley and earthy mushrooms in a flavorful broth is a delicious and satisfying comfort meal to enjoy on a cool night. I would suggest serving the stew with a simple green salad and some crusty bread that you can use to soak up the last bit of the richly flavored sauce. It is an easy recipe to put together and is something a little different from your usual meat and potato family meal. I do hope you will try it soon.