Monday, February 2, 2015

Beef and Barley Stew – Cold Enough for You?

We’re currently right in the middle of stew season, and this beautiful bowl of beef and barley would be perfect for your next super-storm. 

Nope, we can’t do anything about our crazy weather, at least according to a handful of climate scientists employed by the oil industry, but what we can do something about, is what we’re going to eat while we watch the snow pile up.

When it comes to stick-to-your-ribs stews, it doesn’t get any better than shank.  There’s so much gelatin-producing connective tissue, that it makes an especially satisfying sauce for your meat and grain. 

Speaking of grain; I use something called “naked barley,” which I thought was just a catchy name for polished, or “pearl barley," but apparently it’s actually a rare variety where the hull comes off naturally during harvesting. I still say it’s a clever marketing ploy, but no matter which barley you choose, you’re still going to just cook it until tender.

By the way, with recipes like this be sure to have some extra broth or stock on hand, in case your stew gets too thick at the end. And yes, you can add extra liquid and easily turn this into a stellar soup. If you can find some fresh horseradish root, I highly recommend trying my snowy garnish. It really adds a nice, little sharp counterpoint to the sticky stew. I hope you give it a try soon.  Enjoy!


Ingredients for four servings:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 pounds beef shank (2 thick slices), seasoned generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups chicken broth, plus more if needed
2/3 cup diced celery
2/3 cup diced carrots
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 cup pearl or naked barley
salt to taste (if it tastes bland, you need more salt)
freshly grated horseradish root
- Cook beef shank until tender, then remove, and cook the barley in the stewing liquid until tender. Heat beef in cooked barley. That's it.

32 comments:

Stefano Bart said...

Great recipe, Mr. Chef John, as always... what do you think about spelt (emmer?) instead of barley? And can i use flanken cut ribs (with a lot of bone marrow exposed) from pork? Thanks...

Stefano Bart said...

ooops... i wrote pork instead of beef. very sorry

Toshiko Suisei said...

Haha! - When I saw that baton of horseradish root on your video I thought it was just like the ridiculously, giant staves of the root that my nearby grocery probably wonders why they can't sell. Then your hand moves into view for perspective -- How I wish they would stock carrot-sized horseradish roots here! Seriously, the only ones available here are the size of my forearm.

This recipe does look delicious Chef John; can't wait to try it. ^^

Terrence O'Brien said...

What other cuts of meat would work If I can't find shank. Or say If I wanted something I could cube up a bit rather than keep it chunky?

Dave said...

The fact that you only said "Around the outside" twice really threw me for a loop.

I do love a good beef and barley stew, so I'm going to give this one a shot! :)

donsgirl said...

Dear Chef John,
I have come to love this blog since discovering it -- may you always love sharing your love of good food! Just to let you know, on the version of Food Wishes I access and save on newsXpresso, the carrots and celery, with amounts, were missing from the printed recipe. Since this is a stew leaving out the aromatic flavor enhancers would not be something I would do, but there are probably some who would because they wouldn't know it would be a quartet instead of a symphony without them! Thanks for the great ideas and inspiration and beautiful film work!

Valerie Görlitz said...

Dear Chef John,

I can't believe this is the first time writing to you in over 5 years of watching your show, but rest assured, I always use lots of garlic and cayenne in (nearly) everything I make. :) I made your Philly bites for the Superbowl party and they were amazing! I did want to let you know that Youtube is doing a weird thing to your videos right now - after one gets done playing it plays a loop of your buffalo dip and your turkey toms, and then the buffalo dip again, etc! Don't get me wrong, I love buffalo dip ( I personally just make mine in the crock pot so I can keep it hot) but wanted to let you know that we fans like watching all your videos, not just 2 of them. Thanks a million for all the amazing delicious recipes and the laughs! :) - Valerie

Chef John said...

I'll check it out! Thanks!

Chef John said...

Any stewing meat will work, like shoulder.

Jason Smith said...

Dear CJ;

Do you have any more interesting marrow recipes?

JadedOne said...

Once I saw the little thumbnail pop up on youtube for this recipe, I knew I had to make this. I got all the ingredients yesterday, cooking it today and will be serving it tomorrow :) I can't wait!

Chef John - I hope you write more recipes that include fresh horseradish. The one I bought last night was $5.99 a lb! It would be a shame to only use it for this one dish.

Eirik Dahl said...

Why oh why dont you use your dutch oven for this? i have an oval le creuset that i would love to use, and i know you have one aswell!

Also living way up in Norway we can -barely- get arborio rice here. is there any widely available (yes, my neighbour is the arctic circle itself) substitute for barely?

TruePerception said...

Could you use spent barley from brewing to make this, or would it be too soft at that point?

Chef John said...

I don't think that would work. ;)

Matthiu said...

Could you please provide some pointers for those of us that are (1) time constrained and (2) have a pressure cooker available? Looks to me like you could probably do this recipe in 1/3 the time at high pressure. I'd guess 45 min. Not sure if you could even toss the barely right into the pot with the meat and be done with it. Do you feel there is a taste/texture penalty one pays if you take the pressure cooker shortcut?

Chef John said...

Sorry, I not a pressure cooker guy!

thisizk8 said...

I hope whoever you served this too didn't forget to shank you!

Syracuse Glenn said...

Hello Chef!

I have a ton of quinoa left in my pantry, would that work too in this recipe? There would be the extra step of washing the quinoa thoroughly, but other than that, is the procedure the same (though it may not have to cook for 45min)? Thank you!

Geal said...

Loved it! Made it for dinner and sooo tasty

Chef John said...

Quinoa is pretty tiny, so I would just serve it on top!

Jmdfromqc said...

"Hulled barley is barley where the outer shell was removed, but still retains all the bran. This is the most nutritious type of barley, because it has kept all its nutrients. Before cooking, you should soak it for several hours. You just have to drain it and let it simmer gently for 1 hour in 3 to 4 times its amount in liquid.


Pearl barley, which looks like little white pearls (hence its name), is much less nutritious. They also removed its seed and lost some of its vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein and fat it once contained. To prepare, you do not need to soak it. It cooks in 30 minutes." (Ricardocuisine.com)




T-Rex said...

I made the thing mostly. http://imgur.com/ikoOtsb

eforblue said...

can I use buckwheat instead?

Geal said...

Loved this sooo much, made it twice already! Thanks for all your work and yummy videos

Mulligan said...

A friend gave me some Tibetan yak's tail for Chinese New Year. I had no idea what to do with it, so I just made this, and I gotta say, it was pretty dang satisfying. Thanks Chef John!

Yardog59 said...

This turned out to be absolutely amazing. An incredible flavor and just the right texture. Thanks, Chef John, this one will be a Winter staple!

Olgalii. said...

Beef shank wasn't on sale (although the paper said it was... geez...) so I will use some beef neck and some of those those marrowbones you use for soup, and I'm really optimistic it will be as delicious as it sounds!
Also, am I the only one who had to think of Game of Thrones? Reading the books atm and have the feeling I've read of Beef-and-Barley-Soup/Stew quite a few times...

Laura W Kline said...

I made this last week and it was delicious. We are lucky to know a farmer (we're in the midwest) who butchers a cow every year at a meat locker, and we buy a quarter of that cow. So, we get shank in our annual purchase and this is a beautiful use for it! I make a lot of recipes and should comment more because we like them all!

Jeanette Tucker said...

Matthiu -

I attempted this last night in my pressure cooker and can tell you it came out really well. I followed Chef John's ingredient amounts pretty faithfully except that I used 2 bay leaves and 1/2 tsp rosemary (as pressure cooking sometimes mutes spice).

I cooked the beef shanks for 25 minutes using a natural pressure release, then removed meat/added the barley and cooked for 16 minutes with a second natural pressure release.

The resulting product was more soup-like than stew-like so in future I will probably limit the liquid to 3 cups rather than 4 for this recipe. I also have a sneaking suspicion that I could have cooked the beef shanks for 10 minutes at pressure, quick released, then added the barley and cooked for the remaining 16 minutes all together without an issue, but that will require a second experiment and stew season is almost over.

Altogether a great recipe, Chef John! My hat's off to you, as always. Thank you for doing what you do. :)

Larry W said...

Making this today. Chef John, over the last 2 years you have taught me cook. Your attitude and humor are an absolute blessing. Thank you. -Larry W

psap said...

I just made this tonight, it was AMAZING! Had to go without the horseradish however since the store only sold a huge log of it for 6.00 a pound. Seemed a bit expensive for a garnish. It was good without it. The barley was sooo good, why don't I cook barley more often? Going to try the sherry braised short ribs tomorrow served with farro. Never made either before so we'll see how it goes. Thank you so much!! LOVE you recipes and videos.

Obtuse Minds said...

Tried it and the meat in the soup turned out super tender and full of flavor!