beef & barley stew

Another round of frozen soup to warm your soul!

This whole freezer meal thing came at a very opportune time because unfortunately the GS broke his hand last weekend, and is having surgery this week.

I went down to visit this weekend (with about 15 pounds of frozen soup in tow) and his hand legitimately looks like Chubs’ fake hand in Happy Gilmore. That stiff and swollen. His injury was sustained while playing basketball, though, not wrestling an alligator. Slightly less heroic.

He rejected the idea of me staying down there through his surgery but accepted my meals with gratitude. Luckily he only needs one good finger to operate a microwave.

It’s too bad I didn’t save any of this stew for myself because all it’s all I want to eat these days. I may treat myself this weekend and make pretzel bread bowls again and go wild.

Beef & Barley Stew

1 lb stew meat (or whatever beef is on sale)

2-3 carrots, chopped

1 sweet onion, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 sweet potato, chopped

1 can diced tomatoes

1 bay leaf

2-3 tbs Italian seasoning

1 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 quart beef stock

3/4 cups pearl barley

Season the meat. I used salt, pepper, and the Perfect Pinch Italian seasoning which I use for everything. Saute until brown on both sides. You may have to drain some of the fat part way through, if it gets too fatty the meat sort of boils instead of getting that nice brown coating. Remove it and set aside.

In the residual oil and beef fat, add the veggies. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 10-15 minutes. While the veggies were cooking, I par-boiled the barley for 10-15 minutes just to give it a head start. If you’re going to let the stew simmer for several hours, the barley will cook through at that point. Add the barley and the diced tomatoes to the mix, then pour in your stock. Add the bay leaf.

photo 2Allow it to cook for at least 30 minutes, seasoning to taste. I added extra oregano and some crushed red pepper.

This one went into freezer bags as well, but would be wonderful eaten right away with crusty bread. What isn’t good with crusty bread?

photo 3

PS all of my clothes now smell like food from cooking up a storm in my tiny apartment. Eau de beef stew!


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