Beef and Wild Mushroom Stew with Pearled Barley

Beef and Wild Mushroom Stew with Pearled Barley

It’s wild mushroom season here, but unfortunately, it hasn’t rained much so there aren’t very many wild mushrooms.  Nevertheless, I was craving a stew, a beef stew.  There is a typical dish here called Fricando”, where you make a gorgeous stew with Moxiernon mushrooms.  I think the translation is St. George’s Mushroom.  It’s small, dark brown with a thin stem and perfect little cap.  I bought the dried variety, because for stews, I find that the umami  is more enhanced and concentrated.

I love making stews because once you have done some minimal prep work, and you start to simmer it, all you have to do is sit back and relax and let nature do its magic.  Mine was on the stove for about 3 hours, so your beef is succulent and completely melts in your mouth!  I added a whole bottle of Ribera del Duero wine, to make it even more luxurious.

Instead of potatoes or rice, I opted for barley.  I love the nutty taste of it, and also the texture beats rice or potatoes any day in my book!  Apart from that, it is a powerhouse of nutritional value.  Great source of fiber, filled with vitamins, antioxidants and phytochemicals, which we all by now are great cancer fighting properties.

So why not make this dish and luxuriate, knowing that your taste buds and your health will thank you!

Here’s what you’re going to need:

Serves 4

1 lb beef for stew

4 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 large celery rib, chopped

1 swede, chopped

1/2 leek, sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 carrots, sliced

1 parsnip, sliced

200 g dried wild mushrooms, rinsed and soaked in warm water for 20 minutes

1 good bottle of red wine

2 bay leaves

Salt and Pepper to taste

3 tsp bisto mixed with a 1/2 cup water

1 tsp gravy master

2 tsp white wine vinegar

In a large stock pot over high heat, brown the beef on all sides.  Remove the beef with a slotted spoon, and set aside.  Add a touch of the wine to deglaze the pot, stirring so all the brown bits are incorporated into your oil.  Once the wine has evaporated, reduce the heat to low, and add the onion, celery, swede and leek.  Cook until translucent, about 15 minutes.  Add the garlic, carrot and parsnip, and cook another 5 minutes.  Return the beef to the pot, and add the mushrooms with the water they were soaking in, the red wine, bay leaves and salt and pepper.  Raise the heat to high and let come to a boil.  When it is boiling, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, covered.

Let simmer for about 2 and a half hours covered, stirring from time to time, and in the last half hour, add the bisto, gravy master and white wine vinegar.  Let simmer uncovered for the remaining 30 minutes.

Boil the barley according to package directions, and serve hot with the stew.

From my kitchen to yours,