Tailgaters’ Favorite Stew
I can’t imagine anything more appealing on a blustery day than a big serving of this ambrosial stew. It’s great for potlucks and outdoor get-togethers because it’s easily transportable and there is nothing to add.
Serves6 to 8
Cooking MethodSlow Cooking
Make Ahead RecipeYes
One Pot MealYes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Game Day
Recipe CourseMain Course
Dietary ConsiderationEgg-free, Lactose-free, Peanut Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free
Taste and TextureGarlicky, Herby, Meaty, Rich, Savory, Winey
- 6 slices bacon (about 4 oz/125 g)
- 1/4 cup (50 ml) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
- 1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) cracked black peppercorns
- 1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) cayenne pepper
- 2 pounds (1 kg) stewing beef, trimmed, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes and patted dry
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- clove garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) freshly grated nutmeg
- Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
- 1 1/2 cup (375 ml) barley (see Notes) rinsed and drained
- 2 cups (500 ml) beef stock
- 1 cup (250 ml) dry red wine
- 1 cup (250 ml) water
- 1 can (5½ oz/156 ml) tomato paste
In a skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Drain on a paper towel and crumble. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Drain off all but 2 tbsp (25 ml) fat from pan, reserving remainder.
On a plate, combine flour, salt, peppercorns and cayenne. Dredge beef in mixture until coated, discarding any excess. Add beef to pan, in batches, and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes per batch, adding more bacon drippings between batches if necessary. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to slow cooker stoneware as completed.
Reduce heat to medium. Add onions, celery and carrots to pan and cook, stirring, until carrots are softened, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, bay leaves, nutmeg and orange zest; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add barley, stock, wine, water, tomato paste and orange juice; bring to a boil. Transfer to stoneware and stir well.
4. Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 4 hours, until beef is tender. Discard bay leaves. Stir in reserved bacon.
Substitute wheat, spelt or Kamut berries for the barley.
Complete Step 3, heating 1 tbsp (15 ml) oil in pan before softening the vegetables. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. To cook, sauté the bacon and brown the beef. Combine with vegetable mixture and continue with Step 4.
Works best in a large (minimum 5-quart) slow cooker.
The orange zest and juice add wonderful depth to this stew.
Use the variety of barley you prefer — pearled, pot or whole. Whole (also known as hulled) barley is the most nutritious form of the grain.
2008 Judith Finlayson