Italian Beef, Barley & Porcini Stew Recipe | Abel & Cole

Italian Beef, Barley & Porcini Stew

Serves4 people

We've been inspired by rich, meaty stews from Northern Italy for this week's Slow Cook Recipe Box. Organic beef braised with a chunky mix of mushrooms, pearl barley and potatoes is an ever-so-hearty combination that's given extra richness by porcini mushroom stock. Bowls at the ready.

Ingredients

  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 12g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 400g-500g diced braising or stewing steak
  • 2 onions
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 200g portobello mushrooms
  • 500g potatoes
  • 150g pearl barley
  • A handful of thyme, leaves only
  • 200g kale
  • A handful of flat leaf parsley, leaves only
  • 600ml-1 ltr boiling water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Prep: 20 mins | Cook: 1 hr 25 mins-6 hrs 15 mins

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Method

1. Crumble the stock cube into a heatproof jug. Drop in the dried porcini mushrooms. Pour in 600ml boiling water (use 1 ltr boiling water if you’re cooking the stew on the hob) and stir to dissolve the stock cube. Set aside.
2. Warm a large frying pan or large pan (if you are cooking the stew on the hob) over high heat for 2 mins, then add 1 tbsp olive oil and the diced braising steak. Fry for 8 mins, turning the beef now and then, till the beef is browned all over.
3. While the beef fries, peel and finely chop the onions. Peel and dice the carrots. Trim the celery sticks and finely slice them. From this point, follow the method either for the slow cooker or the hob.
4. In the slow cooker: Lift the beef out of the frying pan and pop it in a 3½ ltr slow cooker. Add the chopped veg to the frying pan with 2 tbsp water and a pinch of salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to medium and fry, stirring now and then, for 5 mins till the veg start to soften and brown.
5. While the veg fry, slice the portobello mushrooms. Peel and roughly chop the potatoes.
6. Scoop the fried veg into the slow cooker and add the sliced mushrooms and potatoes. Tip in the barley. Gently stir to mix a little. Tuck in the thyme sprigs. Pour in the porcini and beef stock. Pop the lid on the slow cooker, set it to medium and cook for 6 hrs till the beef is tender. For a faster stew, set your slow cooker to high and cook for 4 hrs, or go slow by cooking the stew for 8 hrs at low.
7. While the stew cooks, slice the soft kale leaves off their cores. Finely shred the kale. When the stew has 1 hr cooking time left, add the kale and push it down into the slow cooker (see our tip overleaf on a quicker way to cook your kale). Cook for the final 1 hr. Taste the stew and adjust the seasoning.
8. Ladle into warm bowls, discarding the thyme sprigs, and serve garnished with parsley leaves.
9. On the Hob: Lift the beef out of the pan and pop it on a plate. Add the chopped veg to the pan with 2 tbsp water and a pinch of salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to medium and fry, stirring now and then, for 5 mins till the veg start to soften and brown.
10. While the veg fry, slice the portobello mushrooms. Peel and roughly chop the potatoes.
11. Tip the beef back into the pan and add the sliced mushrooms, potatoes and pearl barley. Tuck in the thyme sprigs. Pour in the porcini and beef stock. Pop a lid on the pan (or use a baking tray if you don’t have a lid) and bring the stew to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 1 hr till the beef is tender.
12. While the stew cooks, slice the soft kale leaves off their cores. Finely shred the kale. When the stew has cooked for 1 hr, add the kale to the pan. Push down into the pan, pop on a lid and simmer for 10 mins to just cook the kale (or see our tip below for an alternative way to cook your kale). Taste the stew and add a pinch more salt and pepper if you think it needs it.
13. Ladle into warm bowls, discarding the thyme sprigs, and serve garnished with parsley leaves.
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