Cold, is almost an understatement. Bone-chilling might a better way to describe our current climate condition. I thought we were in the middle of a massive global warming? Well, not in Florida, at least not this week.
Cold weather has a way of making people, I’m going to include you all in this (it makes me feel better), want to do crazy things. Have you ever watched the videos of the half-naked Russian ice-water divers? Point proven. I may not be ice diving, but cold weather always drives me to impulsive actions. Such as the thought to spend all day dirtying my kitchen. Almost as daring as ice diving.
But, who has time for dirtying every dish when there are far more important things in life. One of them, curling up on the couch with a big blanket. But somehow, my body, even under the warm coziness of a big checkered blanket, yearns to get back in the kitchen, for dirty dishes stacked high in the air, and the goodness produced from a hard-working stove. Warm crusty bread, a perfectly seasoned stew, and a big mug of hot chocolate. The yearning overtakes.
This soup was born from that crazy cold impulsiveness and the desire spend the day cooking up madness in my kitchen. But, madness often breeds delicious perfection.
This soup requires very little time and only one stockpot. The warm oven does most of the work, leaving time to whip up that delicious mug of hot chocolate, spread a big smear of pastured butter on fresh-baked bread, accomplish the dishes, and still have time to curl up with that big ol’ blanket.
A couple hours later, a perfect bowl of beef and barley stew is waiting to be spooned into my favorite antique, white bowls and enjoyed with more crusty bread. And, of course, lots more butter. The meat perfectly moist and tender, the nourishment of homemade beef broth, the flavor of fresh veggies and herbs.
Have I told you how much I love cold days and the crazy yumminess which result?
Perfectly-Tender Beef Barley Stew
Preheat the oven to 250F.
Season the cubed chuck roast pieces with salt and pepper. Allow to sit and tenderize while melting the butter and cooking the veggies.
In a large soup pot (this is my favorite), melt the butter over medium to high heat. Add in the chopped veggies (carrots, celery, and onion). Sauté the veggies until the onions are translucent (5-7 minutes). Add in the potatoes and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the veggies from the pot. Set to the side.
In the same pot, add the cubed roast. Brown the outside of the meat (4-5 minutes). Remove the meat from the pot and set to the side with the veggies.
Add 1 cup of broth to the stock pot, still on medium to high heat, scrape the bottom of the pot loosening any little pieces.
Add the meat and veggies back to the pot, remaining broth, barley, bay leaf, and rosemary and thyme sprigs. Make sure the rosemary and thyme are immersed in the broth. Bring to a boil. Once at a boil, turn off the heat and transfer the pot to the oven, covered.
The stew will cook in the oven for 2 hours at 250F.
Remove from the oven. Remove the stems from the rosemary and thyme.
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