Serious Eats: Recipes

Short Rib and Barley Stew

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

When you grind as much meat as I do, you often find yourself with an extra pound or two of short rib lying around. You could braise it whole in red wine and be all French, or you could cook it for a few days sous-vide like a fancy-pants, and both are great techniques. Sometimes, though, I'm just in the mood for something simpler.

Short rib and barley stew is fantastic because it:
a) is dumb easy to do
b) is made with pantry and fridge staples (aside from the short rib)
c) lasts for days and gets better with time
d) soothes the soul or warms the cockles of your heart, or if you're really lucky, both at the same time, and
e) tastes really, really good.

The method is pretty straightforward: sear the meat to add a bit of flavor, sauté the vegetables, then simmer the whole thing down with a bit of marmite, soy sauce and tomato paste added for that umami kick.

Throughout the winter months, there's usually a few leaves of kale kicking around my fridge, since they make such a great salad (just marinate with olive oil and vinegar for a couple of hours—it stays crisp for days even after dressing!), and they go a long way in making this stew even tastier and heartier. If you prefer a beef and barley soup, just add some more stock at the end to thin it out to the desired consistency.

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