Monday, November 10, 2008

belle's recipe for beef, leek, barley and potato stew

My head hurts from reading too much and trying to write. Soup helps.

Again, I looked at 20 recipes and didn't like any of them. Trust your instincts! Some recipes seem too easy and too bland. Trust your instincts! And your taste buds! Mine led me to add the extra steps of browning the meat, adding wine, spices, extra salt, eschewing bland water in favor of beef broth, and adding an extra pound of meat. In Belle's cookbook, when in doubt, add more bacon/beef/butter. I walk a lot and so far am still size 4, so don't fret about the fat, and at least you'll feel full after one bowl. There's something about winter that makes me want stick-to-your-ribs rib food anyway. Plus, this way it's beef stew instead of stew-with-beef.

After 10 minutes of extra-step investment, you can indeed sit back and let this cook on the back burner as you work on admin law and you wait for your partner come home from work. On a Sunday. Working on weekends sucks--might as well eat soup. This was much appreciated by TD.


1 lb beef short ribs, approx. two of them, bone-in, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 lb. beef stew meat, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin
2 bay leaves
1 cup dry red wine
3 cans beef broth (six cups)
2 cups water
3-4 tsp. salt
A lot of ground pepper
2 leeks, white parts only, halved lengthwise and chopped
4-5 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup barley

1. Coat the bottom of your soup pot to 1/8" with olive oil. Heat on high. Brown the meat on all sides to a dark brown, with a nice crust.

2. Remove to a plate. Lower heat to medium. Sautee the onion till soft, 5 min. Add the garlic and cumin, sautee 2 min more. Put back in the meat.

3. Bring heat to high, and add the wine. Bring to a boil. Add the other liquids, and bring to a boil again. Add the salt, bay leaves and lots of pepper.

4. Add the barley, leeks, and potatoes. Make sure the meat is submerged in the liquid, and cover the pot. Lower heat to a low simmer and let it simmer for 3-4 hours and read a lot of admin law and stuff about microcultures as it cooks. After the meat is soft and tender, remove it and chop it up and discard the bones and tendons, then return meat to the pot and stir. Remove the bay leaves. Skim the fat from the surface, which will look like oil. Or you could refrigerate and skim it off the next day. If the soup is too thick, add water by the 1/2 cup and adjust seasonings.

Eat a bowl and feel warm. Watch your partner eat two bowls. Pack up apparently 4 bowls in tupperware and eat for a few more days.