It was rainy. It was gloomy. It was four o’clock in the afternoon and after chasing the kids all day I still hadn’t eaten lunch — or prepared a week’s worth of sulphite/salicylate-free food for an upcoming trip. A pot of black beans burbled on the stove top, but other than that, some Rice Krispies, and a whole heck of a lot of potato chips, my healthy nutrition for the coming week was questionable at best.
But wait! What was that? A knock on the door?
Through the window pane I could make out the form of a woman clutching the hand of a little girl. I opened the door, and there they were: the amazing chef Becky and her little mini chef clinging to her dress.
“I was bored today,” she said, a twinkle in her eye, “so I decided to make you some beef and barley stew.” She held forth a bowl of warm, delicious stew.
“Oh,” she added as an aside, “and I made extra, too.” There, nestled in a silver tray, lay bag upon bag of stew, all prepped and ready for me to take on my trip. Isn’t God good?
As soon as she left, I sat down for a sample and immediately sighed with delight. That stew was a comfort food I didn’t even know I was missing! Wow, did it hit the spot. Even my allergy-free husband wanted a second bite (or two! or three!). I can’t wait to eat it on my upcoming trip — and I just know it will be the perfect food for those gloomy, rainy (healthy!) comfort food days.
Food intolerant or not, there is NO WAY you should be without this soup in your cooking recipe repertoire. So, so, so, so good. Try it for yourself!
Becky’s Rainy Day Beef and Barley Stew
3 lbs Beef (stew meat or roast) in 1 inch cubes
1 cup diced celery
1 tablespoon safflower oil
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 cup soy sauce (Make sure it’s preservative free)
1/4 cup whiskey (optional)
2 cups barley pearls
12 cups water
2 teaspoon sea salt
In a large soup pot place the cubed beef, oil, flour and celery. Brown on on high to sear the beef. Add soy sauce and whiskey and reduce heat to low and cover. Adjust heat to maintain a very slight simmer and simmer until beef is tender. Depending on the cut of beef it could take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2+ hours. Meanwhile in another pot add 2 cups barley, 12 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover. Cook until barley is tender, about 40 minutes. The water will not be gone. When the beef is tender add barley and water to beef mixture and stir. Taste and season with more soy sauce or if it’s too salty add more water.
REGULAR VERSION: If there are no sensitivities/allergies to accommodate, add about 1 cup of carrots and 2 teaspoons of pepper to the barley. Reduce the soy sauce to 1/4 cup, use the oil of your choice, and add one packet of french onion soup mix to the beef mixture after browning the beef.