Beef (Bison) and Barley Stew with Root Vegetables

October 27, 2010  •  Meat & Poultry, Soup

Here’s the thing about fall in Colorado – don’t let that gorgeous sun shining down on the intensely colored fall leaves fool you. It’s cold all of a sudden. We go from the 70s or even 80s down to below freezing in the blink of an eye, and with snowstorms pelting the mountains and the wind whipping through Denver, there’s only one thing to make for dinner.A nice, hearty, belly-warming fall stew. I used bison because it’s what I found in the meat freezer, but beef is good too.I’m also trying to heed my own cooking advice of adding more vegetables to everything I eat. I sneak veggies into eggs in the morning, add them to pasta dishes, and in this case, added a bunch to my stew. Start by patting your pieces of stew meat dry, then searing them until brown in a heavy bottom pan (I like my Dutch oven for this) with some oil in it. Next add a diced onion and let it soften a bit, then add the diced vegetables – I used carrots, turnips and potatoes because that’s what I had in the fridge.I can’t stand the thought of my herbs dying off soon, so am using them in everything. Plus a good handful of rosemary and thyme will add layers of flavors to this stew. If you don’t have fresh herbs, use some dried.Next add the beef broth – or if you’re like me and out of beef broth, add chicken broth plus a little Gravy Master to deepen the color and flavor.Add the star of the dish, that underutilized whole grain pearl barley. It’s good food, and it’s good for you.Finally, add some sort of tomato product – either diced up fresh tomatoes (this is a good use for those not quite ripe ones from the end of the season), canned diced tomatoes, or frozen tomatoes like I used, having already put mine up for the year. The stew will be very liquid until it simmers for some time, but as it cooks, the juices will reduce and thicken at the same time the barley absorbs the stock, creating a nice thick stew.Right before serving, toss in a good amount of minced fresh parsley – it really brightens the dish. (And for those of you who really know your herbs, you’ll notice that my picture of parsley is actually fine herbs, a mixture of parsley, tarragon and chives. Why don’t I have a single photo of fresh parsley anywhere in my 7500 – literally – food photos stored on my backup drive?!)This stew is really satisfying – light on the meat, heavy on the whole grains and vegetables – and it makes enough to feed a large family!

Beef and Barley Stew with Root Vegetables
Serves 6

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound beef stew meat (or bison), cut in small pieces
1 small onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 medium turnips, peeled and diced
1 small potato, diced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 cans beef stock (about 6 cups)
1 cup pearl barley
28 ounces diced tomatoes
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Blot beef cubes dry with paper towels then add to pot and brown. Add onions and season with salt and pepper, then cook for 1 minute. Add all remaining ingredients except for fresh parsley, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook, covered, for 1-2 hours, or until barley is cooked and beef is tender. Add fresh parsley just before serving.


3 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. My Kitchen in the Rockies says:

    Yes, were did our warm weather go? I also could live without this bone freezing wind watching my son’s soccer games!
    Your stew is the perfect dish to come home to after the game. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Rich says:

    One of my favorite things about the onset of fall is that I can start making stews like this. It looks absolutely delectable!

  3. Lauren says:

    Absolutely Fantastic! Couldn’t have asked for a better meal on a cold rainy night.

Add a Comment