I thought spring was finally here. On Saturday I was sitting outside soaking in the sun, drinking a beer, and rocking sandals. I thought winter had finally said her goodbyes. But no, I was wrong. Apparently we might get snow tonight. Really? Really? Really?
A ray of sunshine from behind the snow clouds-- I can share this beef and barley stew with you. It is a hearty delicious meal that is perfect for winter days... no matter if it is January or April.
Beef and Barley Stew
1 lb chuck steak, fat trimmed and cut into about 1/2 inch pieces
2 large carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large onion, diced
10 oz baby portobello mushrooms, sliced thinly
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
14.5 oz can petite cut diced tomatoes
3/4 tsp dried thyme
3/4 cup pearl barley, rinsed
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the meat and brown for about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan. Add the carrots and onion to the pan and cook until browned about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for an additional 7 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook 2 minutes. Dump into slow cooker. Add the meat, broth, tomatoes, and thyme. Cook on high about 3 hours (or low 6 1/2 hours). Stir in the barley and cook for 1 hour on high. Stir in salt/pepper and serve.
Serves about 6.