Sunday, November 7, 2010

Beef, Beer, and Barley Stew

The clocks have been set back an hour and darkness fell early tonight... so it felt like the perfect night to prepare a winter stew.  This recipe was a bit complicated and time consuming, but would create a splash for dinner guests, and will wow your taste buds on any night, so it's worth the effort!

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound frozen Gardein beefless tips (about 3 and 3/4 cups)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped onion
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups (1 and 1/2-inch thick) sliced carrot
  • 2 cups peeled and chopped turnip
  • 3/4 cup uncooked pearl barley
  • 5 minced garlic cloves, divided
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages button mushrooms, cut into quarters
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups vegan beef broth (prepared from Not Beef bouillon)
  • 2 tablespoons Annie's Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle Sierra Nevada stout (or other vegan dark beer)
  • 3 small beets
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons bottled prepared horseradish
1. Heat the olive oil in a stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Toss the frozen Gardein beef with the black pepper, then add to the pot and saute for 8-10 minutes, until browned.  Remove the beef from the pan and set aside.  Add the onion, bay leaves, and thyme to the pan; cover, reduce heat, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Don't worry if browned bits accumulate on the bottom of the pan as you cook the beef, since it will all dislodge as you cook the onions.

2. Stir in the tomato paste, then increase the heat back to medium-high.  Add the carrot slices, turnips, pearl barley, 4 of the garlic cloves, and the mushrooms; saute for 3 minutes.  Return the beef to the pan, along with the water, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, and beer.  Make sure to pour in the beer slowly, so it doesn't fizz up!  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 and 1/2 hours.  Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs at the end.

3. While the stew simmers, trim the beets but leave about 1 inch of the stem and the root on each.  Place in a saucepan and cover with water, then bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 35 minutes.  Drain, rinse the beets with cold water, then drain again and let cool.  Still leaving on the stems and roots, rub the skins off the beets - they will rub off easily, but do be prepared to get your fingers purple.  Cut each beet into 6 wedges; set aside.

4. In a small bowl, combine the final garlic clove with the parsley and thyme leaves.

5. Ladle 2 cups of stew into each of 6 bowls.  Top each serving with 3 beet wedges, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of the parsley mixture, and 1 teaspoon horseradish.  I liked this with some cooked wild rice and roasted cipollini onions on the side, to round out the meal.

Nutrition Info:
6 servings (2 cups stew, 3 beet wedges, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons parsley mixture, 1 teaspoon horseradish), Calories 379

Tasting Notes:
I am still new to cooking with Gardein products, so the last time I had real beef stew was nearly twenty years ago.  The instant I tasted this, it brought back memories of my father's "famous" beef stew - the tender, sweet carrots, the savory pieces of vegan beef, and the richness of the broth.  I loved the way that the beets continued to infuse into the broth the longer they stayed in the bowl, and the barley was cooked to perfection.  All-in-all, I can't wait to let my dad know I've come up with a vegan version that's just as good as his famous beef stew!


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