Here’s how to satisfy your comfort food cravings with a bowl of old-school goodness. This stew is richly flavoured with browned beef, tender barley and hearty kale. It’s comfort food at its best. Rich and satisfying, hearty and healthy but not heavy.
- 2 lbs. of stewing beef, cut into bite-sized cubes, dried on paper towels
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- Lots of freshly ground black pepper
- A few generous splashes of vegetable oil
- 2 onions, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 4 thinly sliced garlic cloves
- 1 small can of tomato paste
- 8 cups of water
- 2 cups of red wine
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup of barley
- 4 or 5 sprigs of fresh thyme, rosemary, savoury or tarragon
- 1 bunch of kale, tough center ribs trimmed, removed, leaves torn or cut into small bite-sized pieces
- Preheat your Meyer Dutch Oven over medium-high heat. Dry the beef on a few paper towels. Splash a thin pool of oil into your pot. Carefully add a single sizzling layer of beef without overcrowding the pan and slowing down the flavourful heat. Patiently and evenly brown the meat on all sides. Repeat as needed with the rest of the beef, 10 to 15 minutes in total. Pour off any excess oil leaving behind any browned bits of goodness.
- Add the vegetables, tomato paste, water, wine and bay leaf. Stirring frequently, briefly bring the works to a full furious boil then reduce to a slow steady simmer. Cover tightly. Slowly, patiently braise in the pot, forming the sauce, inevitably tenderizing the meat, releasing its richness, building deep beefy flavour, an hour or so. Stir every now and then. After an hour, stir in the barley and cook for another hour until the beef is meltingly tender and the barley deliciously chewy.
- When it’s time to eat, stir in the thyme and kale, cover, turn off the heat and rest just long enough to wilt the greens, a minute or two. Serve and share!
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