In October I made a number of meals based on alcohol. I generally don’t drink a lot of alcohol or cook with it usually. Usually when cooking with alcohol it is wine or in desserts. I don’t like to drink wine so why would I cook with it?
This recipe is based on Sam Adams’ Pumpkin Ale, a beer that I would never drink but turned out wonderful as a base for hearty beef and barley stew. The broth of the stew ended up tasting like the gravy in Shepherd’s Pie. It was incredibly flavorful and filling.
I started with pre-cut stew meat from Safeway and chopped it into smaller pieces. I browned this with shallots and carrots in some olive oil. Then I added a bottle of Sam Adams’ Pumpkin Ale and a cup of vegetable stock. I brought this to a boil then added a half cup of pearled barley. I brought it down to a simmer and let it cook for about forty-five minutes or until the barley was completely tender.
I’ve posted this dish several times already which shows how popular it is at our house. It’s also something that is delicious, lots of leftovers, and not that expensive to make. This time around I was not pleased with the results. The kielbasa from Whole Foods is not as good as the kielbasa from Shopper’s Corner (or even Safeway in my opinion) and the parsnips were not ripe and watery. Part of what made the dish so good the first time I made it was the high quality kielbasa with a good amount of fat and spices, when you don’t have that then the dish loses its robust greasy, spicy goodness.
My boyfriend is going through a barley phase. I love barley: its cheap, filling, and goes a long way. A couple weeks ago I made chicken soup with rice and barley for him. This weekend I made kielbasa stew with barley, carrots, and parsnips. It turned out absolutely delicious. It was a little on the greasy side because I used three kielbasa when I perhaps should have used three. Andrew ate two large bowls of it and I was tempted to go back for a second myself.
3 pork kielbasa (you can definitely use turkey if you prefer), sliced into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup pearled barley
1 16 0z. carton of low sodium, fat free chicken broth
two carrots, peeled and roughly chopped into bite sized pieces
- two medium sized parsnips, peeled and chopped roughly into bite sized pieces
- three medium shallots, diced.
- salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
Boil chicken broth then add pearled barley. Reduce heat to low and simmer. Add parsnips, carrots, shallots, and garlic. Season to preference. Let cook for about twenty-five minutes until carrots, parsnips, and barley are tender. Then add sliced kielbasa and cook for another five minutes.
The broth came out flavorful, creamy and robust. I love parsnips to no end and think they are one of the best vegetables out there. I suppose if you cannot find them in your supermarket or farmer’s market then potatoes would work as well or any other root vegetable of your choice.
This weekend Andrew was sick and wanted soup. We sort of worked together on this one with me teaching him how to make a good chicken soup. Andrew doesn’t let me cook for him usually so I was really excited to make soup for him and he ate three bowls of it! I finally had some today and it was very good. I added extra pepper to my bowl because I like my soup peppery.
- 1 chicken leg quarter
- two carrots
- 1/2 cup rice
- 1/4 cup pearled barley
- 1 carton low-sodium chicken broth
- two cups water
- one diced shallot
- garlic powder
First I browned the chicken in a large pot with some oil and the shallot. Then I added the broth, water, and carrots. I brought this to a boil and added the rice and barley. Then I reduced it to a simmer over low heat. It simmered for about thirty minutes. Then I removed the chicken from the bone, shredded it, and added it back in the pot.
Dinner tonight included a skinless, boneless turkey breast, sliced carrots with slivered almonds, and barley with parsley.
Oven Baked Turkey Breast
- 1 boneless skinless turkey breast
- garlic powder
- canola spray
Baked in the oven at 375° F. for about 30 minutes. I cooked it on top of the carrots on parchment paper in a glass baking dish. It’s good with a lot of spicy mustard, but everything is better with spicy mustard in my opinion.
- about one cup frozen, sliced carrots (I slice and freeze my own vegetables)
- garlic powder
- tablespoon of slivered almonds
- canola spray
Bake with turkey breast in oven for about thirty minutes at 375° F.
Barley with Parsley
- 1 cup pearled barley
- 1 3/4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- kosher salt (to taste)
Bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add pearled barley and salt. Reduce to a simmer. Cover with a lid and let this cook for about forty-five minutes. After barley is cooked through add parsley.
Now making barley on my range proved to be quite a challenge. I’m not sure why, but low on my range is what medium-high is on most other ranges. When I try to turn it down lower it makes this awful high pitch whistling sound. Normally, I avoid making foods that require simmering, but I was really craving the creamy heartiness of barley today. I ended up doubling the amount chicken broth originally called for in my recipe. My barley ended up being a tad undercooked, but I can deal with that. Additionally, I added a ton of spicy mustard to it to make it creamier and to give it some pizazz.
In all, this was a delicious, hearty dinner for a cold day where I had some extra time on my hands.