Beefy Barley Kale Stew
Serves: 8 bowls, easily doubled in a larger pot
The rich flavors of browned beef only get better when they’re stewed with tender barley and finished with hearty kale. This stew is comfort food at its best—rich and satisfying, hearty and healthy, and filled with fresh green flavor. Add just about any other green vegetable you can think of: broccoli, asparagus,peas, edamame, savory greens, Brussels sprouts. Makes 8 bowls, easily doubled in a larger pot. Today for Tomorrow: Prep the vegetables a few days in advance. Store tightly sealed in a zip-top bag. • Fully cook the stew now (see Storage Tip) and reheat anytime during the next several days.
  • 2 pounds (900 g) of stewing beef, cut into roughly 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
  • A few generous splashes of vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • A 5 ½-ounce (156 mL) can of tomato paste
  • 8 cups (2 L) of water
  • 2 cups (500 mL) of red wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) of salt
  • Lots of freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup (250 mL) of barley
  • Leaves from 4 or 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 bunch of kale, tough center ribs removed, leaves torn or cut into small bite-size pieces
  • Prepared horseradish
  1. Heat your largest thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat while you gently dry the beef on a few paper towels. Splash a pool of oil into the pot, swirling to cover the bottom with a thin film. Without crowding the pan, carefully add a single sizzling layer of beef. This is your only shot at adding the rich, deep flavors that can only come from respectfully browned meat. Listen to the heat. Sizzle is the sound of flavour. Too loud, though, and a sizzling pan becomes a smoking-burning pan. When the beef is deeply browned all over, transfer it to a plate. Repeat with the rest of the beef, 10 to 15 minutes in total. Pour off any excess oil, leaving behind any browned bits of goodness.
  2. Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, tomato paste, water, wine, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Return the beef and any juices to the pot. Stirring occasionally, briefly bring the works to a furious boil, then reduce the heat to a slow, steady simmer. Cover tightly and gently simmer for an hour or so, stirring now and then, patiently tenderizing the meat, releasing its richness and building deep beefy flavor.
  3. Stir in the barley and cook for another hour or until the beef is meltingly tender and the barley deliciously chewy. When it’s time to eat, discard the bay leaf and return to a simmer. Stir in the thyme and kale, cover, turn off the heat and rest just long enough to wilt the greens, a minute or two. Serve with lots of sharp horseradish.
Storage Tip
Refrigerate: Tightly seal the stew and refrigerate within 30 minutes of cooking.
Store for up to 6 days before reheating.
Freeze: Portion, tightly seal and freeze for up to 30 days. Reheat straight from
the freezer or thaw in the refrigerator for 1 or 2 days before reheating. Tightly
seal leftovers and store in the refrigerator for just a few days.
Recipe by Food Bloggers of Canada at