Monday, October 4, 2010

Beef, Barley, and Butternut Squash Stew

Haha - okay maybe I do have my cravings!  This recipe is oddly similar to the one before.

This was a satisfying meal to have on a rainy Saturday night.  I found this recipe by Liz Pearson published in Fine Cooking.  It was recommended to serve this with salty blue cheese and walnut croutons, breaking them into the stew as you eat.  By the time I saw that it was late and still raining so I didn't want to go back out.  Next time I definitely will though.

My photos haven't been the greatest lately.  I think it's partly because it's getting darker again and I don't have any natural light by the time I photograph the finished product, and to avoid the shadows I have to do these close-up shots.   Anyway, this will have to do.

This recipe is for six. I don't usually cut recipes down for the two of us because meals like this make such good leftovers.  I now have stew for two more meals in the freezer.  I'll have to really get into the hang of that once the baby comes.  

I added parsnip to the recipe. Feel free to add any of your favourite root veggies especially even more so now that they're all in season.   I also added beer as opposed to a cup of dry white wine since I don't have open bottles of wine in the house these days, but I can always count on Phil to have beer. Oh, and I skipped adding a 1/4 cup of half-and-half because I didn't feel like it was needed.  


1.5 Pounds of stewing beef
Salt and freshly ground pepper
5 Tbs of all-purpose flour
41/2 Tbs of unsalted butter
1 Tbs of extra virgin olive oil
2 Large Leeks, halved and thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
2 Medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Large parsnip, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Cup of of beer
6 Cups of low-sodium chicken broth
2/3 Cups of pearl barley
3 Dried Bay leaves
1 Tbs of fresh sage, chopped finely
1 Tsp of freshly ground nutmeg
1 Small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

For the stew:

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Season the beef with salt, pepper and toss in a large bowl with 2 Tbs of the flour.  Heat 1Tbs of the butter and the oil in a large Dutch Oven over medium-high heat.  Cook half of the beef until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.  Using slotted spoon or tongs, transfer the beef to a plate.  Repeat with remaining beef.
Melt 2 Tbs of the butter in the pot.  Add all the veggies and a pinch of salt, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes.  Add the beer or wine and cook, scraping up any brown bits with a wooden spoon, until evaporated, 7-8 minutes.  Stir in  the remaining 3 Tbs of flour and cook for 1 minute.
Whisk in 5 cups of of the broth.  Stir in the barley, bay leaves, sage, nutmeg, 1/2 tsp of salt and the beef along with any accumulated juices.  Bring to a boil.  Cover the pot snugly with foil and then a tight-fitting lid and braise in the oven until beef is almost tender, about an hour.  Stir in the squash and the remaining cup of broth.  Cover with the foil and lid and continue braising until the beef is tender and squash are very tender, about 30 minutes or more.
Remove and discard bay leaves from the stew, and season with salt and pepper.

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