I have been craving more soups and stews recently for some reason. I guess it is that time of year with the colder weather and dreary days. Something nice and hot and filling sounds so yummy.
When I was at the store the other day, I was looking at the various grains and rices they had, wanting to try something a bit different than usual. I noticed the pearl barley was on sale and grabbed a bag. It is an ingredient that I have never used in the kitchen, but have enjoyed other places so I figured this was the perfect time to buy some for myself.
Maybe its just me, but I had no idea that there was regular barley and quick cooking barley, just like for oats and grits. I bought the regular one, which needs a very long cooking time. Which translates into it being a weekend meal (or one that is made on a weekend, then frozen for sometime in the week).
I picked up some stew beef, even though I was tempted by short ribs and lamb. I knew that the beef would be easier to accept in my household. If I wanted to introduce barley and veggies that are visible (and not chopped to the point of becoming a watery mess), I knew that it would be best to go with good old beef. One thing at a time...that increases the chance of success in my household.
I turned to my trusty Better Homes and Garden Cookbook, which has been a standby for many years and did not fail me this time. I made a double batch of their beef and barley stew this weekend. So now I will have some to enjoy now and some to put in the freezer for the next rainy day.