Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Crockpot Classic: Beef Stew

I've had beef stew maybe twice in my life (that I can recall). Once was at a really good Irish Pub, the other was last weekend in a coffee shop. It was so good I decided I had to make it on my own.

I've also recently been obsessed with barely, so much that right after sampling the stew I went to the local health food store and bought a bunch from a bin for $1.

Fortunately I had about 7 beef stew recipes in a binder at home. I opted for a slow cooker recipe because I'm lazy and I like the idea of coming home and having dinner ready and waiting for me. Since I live alone, and my cats refuse to cook, this is my only option (unless Mr. Snowgoose happens to be in town).

The recipe was crazy simple and I actually had most of the indridients. I was a little nervous about buying beef stew meat, mostly because I never buy beef and cook it, and had no idea what to look for. But Whole Foods solved that problem for me. Sure enough in the packaged meat section there was one labeled "stew meat: beef." Bingo!


Beef and Barley Soup (ripped out of a health food magazine, but almost all the recipes looked the same)

Ingridients

1 tablespoon cooking oil
12 ounces beef or lamb stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
4 14 ounce cans of lower sodium beef broth
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon dried oregeno or basil, crushed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables (corn, green beans, lima beans, carrots)
1 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup parsnip or potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices or cubes



2/3 cup quick cooking barley

Now I used everything but the celery, parsnip, and bay leaf. I actually used 2 28 oz containers of beef broth, but bullion cubes probably would have worked. I added an extra cup of mixed veggies and used a whole cup of barley.

Directions:

1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add meat and cook and stie until meat is browned. Drain off fat.


2. In a 5-6 quart slow cooker, combine meat and remaining ingridients. Cover and cook over a low setting for 8-10 hours or a high setting for 4-5 hours.

Serves 8




Calories: 168
Fat: 4 g
Fiber: 3 g

Notes:
1. I had no idea what kind of barley I bought bought and it was fine.

2. This would make an excellent vegetarian stew, just sub in veg broth for the beef, and omit the actual beef. I would add in several more cups of mixed veggies, tomatoes, and potatoes, and another half cup of barley.

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