Classic Beef Stew

Serves 4 to 6.

Note: This is delicious served just as it is, but we’ve added some commercially made spicy corn salsa for color and zip. It’s one of those dishes that’s even better the next day. From Beth Dooley.

• 1 tbsp. vegetable oil

• 1 1/2 to 2 lb. beef chuck or round, trimmed of surface fat and cut into 1-in. pieces

• 2 medium yellow onions, cut into 1-in. chunks

• 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 1 c. dark beer, such as stout

• 2 1/2 to 3 c. beef or chicken stock

• 1 bay leaf

• 1 tsp. dried thyme

• 1/2 c. hulled barley

• 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-in. chunks

• 1 rib celery, leaves included, cut into 1-in. chunks

• 1/4 c. commercially made spicy corn salsa, optional

Directions

Pour oil into deep soup pot or Dutch oven to film the bottom; set over medium-high heat. Add the beef and brown on all sides, working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the meat and set aside.

Add the onions and garlic to the pot, sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Pour in the beer and stock, stirring to release any of the nubs that have stuck to the bottom of the pan, and bring the liquid to a boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the bay leaf and thyme, and return the meat to the pot. Stir in the barley, cover and cook until the barley and meat are tender, about 40 to 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the liquid level drops below the ingredients, add a little more stock.

Add the carrots and celery and continue cooking until the carrots are tender, about 10 more minutes. Stir in the salsa to taste.

Nutrition information per serving of 6:

Calories 330

Carbohydrates 23 g

Protein 25 g

Fat 15 g

Saturated fat 5 g

Cholesterol 60 mg

Sodium 130 mg

Total sugars 4 g

Dietary fiber 5 g

Exchanges per serving: 1½ starch, 3 medium-fat protein.