So the weather has gotten cold and crappy, right? I’m staring out my window right now looking at 6 inches of blowing snow and wishing I was some place tropical. Oh well! Maybe next year?
When the days get like this and I need a break from my crafts and something tasty and filling to eat, I always turn to a good stew. I tend to always keep the main ingredients handy and the best part is that every one is completely customizable to your own preferences, sensitivities, allergies, budget, etc! You literally cannot go wrong!
What I like most about this recipe of mine (aside from great taste) is that it is very filling and doesn’t use any over-processed ingredients or manufactured products like pasta which can contain 2g of sugar and up to 41g of carbohydrates in just one serving, about 1/4 of a cup! And let’s be real… like we actually dish ourselves only one serving. I don’t know about you, but I’m keeping an eye on my thyroid health and that’s a lot of carbs and sugar my body doesn’t need.
And before anyone says “Hey! Barley has a lot of carbs, too!” Yes, you are correct. But if you break it down, you notice that in one entire cup of barley (which once cooked is huge!) you find 135g of carbs and 32g of that is dietary fiber and only 1.5g (again, in an entire cup) is sugar. All that dietary fiber is so great for you! Not to mention the levels of calcium, vitamin B-6, 23g of protein, and the huge amounts of Iron and Magnesium. Boom! Super food without a box having to say any of those good things were “added.”
Let me just stress again that this is completely customizable! The ingredients I list are just the ones I had on hand. You can absolutely use low-sodium, organic or bone broth bases. Skip the garlic? Add a different vegetable like zucchini or yellow squash? You bet! Let your creativity expand into your refrigerator and use up those veggies before you just end up regretting the fact that you have to throw them out because you bought them with good intentions but it’s been 3 weeks and now they’re moldy. (Can anyone tell I sometimes have this problem, too?)
So let’s get cooking!
Beef, Barley and Spinach Stew
Serves 12 1-cup portions
Total time: approx. 3-4 hours
- Ingredients: 1lb of Beef Roast – I buy several pounds at once and chop off chunks for stew.
- 1 Small Yellow Onion
- 2 Tbsp Minced Garlic (or 5-6 cloves, chopped) … I love garlic.
- Salt & Pepper to Taste
- 1/2 Cup Marsala Cooking Wine
- 1 48oz Carton of Beef Broth
- 32 oz. Carton of Vegetable Broth
- 1/2 Cup Pearl Barley
- Frozen Spinach
Start by cutting your meat into large bite-size pieces (think a little bigger than a pair of dice.) My roast came with a fat layer on the bottom. I left some fat on the meat, but discarded the rest. Too much fat can leave your stew feeling super greasy in your mouth. We want to avoid that, but remember that fat is where the beef flavor comes from; this is all about balance.
Start cooking the roast in a very large lidded pot. Make sure the meat is about thoroughly cooked and add your minced garlic, onions, salt & pepper. Sear all of that together over medium heat until the onions start to become tender — approx. 10 minutes.
Add the Marsala cooking wine, put the lid on your pot and let that simmer over a medium-low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. We want our beef to become tender quickly. Now add all broth and bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat to medium and let cook this way with the lid on for about an hour. You can always let it go longer, too; the longer it sits, the better it gets. 😉
Add pearl barley and cook for another 45 minutes.
Add half the bag of frozen spinach (or the whole thing if you want) and simmer for about 5-10 minutes just to heat the spinach, serve immediately and enjoy! If using fresh spinach, add just before serving, making sure it is all properly wilted.
I really hope you enjoy this recipe! Stay warm out there and please share your thoughts, pictures and amendments in the comments below. I look forward to seeing them!