Beef & Barley Stew
“Maybe they don’t have sheep and cattle, Bran thought. He commanded the serving men to bring them mutton chops and a slice off the aurochs and fill their trenchers with beef-and-barley stew. They seemed to like that well…” -A Clash of Kings
Thick and hearty, this is the kind of stew that will stick to your ribs. Because this soup, and many other variations similar to it, are served in the North, I’ve only included ingredients we know they have. I’d recommend you use this recipe as a starting point and mix in your own choice of ingredients, as available and desired.
This version holds a delicate balance between barley, meat, and veg. The barley and turnip give the stew some heft, while the carrots provide a much welcome burst of color. The beef softens as it stews, and each spoonful holds a different combination of filling. Pair with our white or black breads, and you’ll be as happy as a crannogman in a bog.
Beef and Barley Stew Recipe
- 1 pound beef stew meat, cut into small pieces
- 4 Tbs. butter
- 4 oz. sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 cup diced turnip
- 1-2 carrots, sliced small
- ~10 whole pearl onions
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup pearl barley
- 6 cup water
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 cup beef broth
- 1 tsp. thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Tbs. each butter and flour for roux (optional)
Put half the butter into saute pan, and brown the beef. Set aside. Add the rest of the butter, along with the mushrooms, turnips, carrots, onions, and garlic. Saute for just a few minutes until the mushrooms are soft, making sure that the veggies get completely covered with butter.
Combine the meat, veg, and all other ingredients in a large pot. Simmer over medium heat for at least an hour, adding extra water or broth as the barley soaks it up.
The starch from the barley will thicken the soup somewhat, but if you’d like it thicker, add a roux.
Melt the butter, and add flour. Stir to combine as the mixture until the color is golden. Add a ladle of broth, stirring all the while, then pour the whole mixture into the main pot.