Beef and Barley Stew – Cold Enough for You?

We’re currently right in the middle of stew season, and this beautiful bowl of beef and barley would be perfect for your next super-storm. 

Nope, we can’t do anything about our crazy weather, at least according to a handful of climate scientists employed by the oil industry, but what we can do something about, is what we’re going to eat while we watch the snow pile up.

When it comes to stick-to-your-ribs stews, it doesn’t get any better than shank.  There’s so much gelatin-producing connective tissue, that it makes an especially satisfying sauce for your meat and grain. 

Speaking of grain; I use something called “naked barley,” which I thought was just a catchy name for polished, or “pearl barley," but apparently it’s actually a rare variety where the hull comes off naturally during harvesting. I still say it’s a clever marketing ploy, but no matter which barley you choose, you’re still going to just cook it until tender.

By the way, with recipes like this be sure to have some extra broth or stock on hand, in case your stew gets too thick at the end. And yes, you can add extra liquid and easily turn this into a stellar soup. If you can find some fresh horseradish root, I highly recommend trying my snowy garnish. It really adds a nice, little sharp counterpoint to the sticky stew. I hope you give it a try soon.  Enjoy!

Ingredients for four servings:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 pounds beef shank (2 thick slices), seasoned generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups chicken broth, plus more if needed
2/3 cup diced celery
2/3 cup diced carrots
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 cup pearl or naked barley
salt to taste (if it tastes bland, you need more salt)
freshly grated horseradish root
- Cook beef shank until tender, then remove, and cook the barley in the stewing liquid until tender. Heat beef in cooked barley. That's it.