03 January 2014

Happy New Year!  I debated for a while about what should be my first recipe posted in 2014, and settled on this one.  This is a recipe I created back in August.  I wasn't sure my girls (3 and 5) would eat it since it had some "iffy" ingredients like onions, mushrooms, and most of all, barley. But it totally made my day when both girls raved about how good it was and asked for seconds.  Yay! 

Beef and Barley Skillet

1 cup quick barley
1 tbsp olive oil
½ large onion, chopped
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 lb. lean ground beef
1½ cups reduced-sodium beef broth
2 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp tomato paste
Salt to taste
Fresh thyme, chopped

Cook barley according to package directions.  Set aside. 

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Sauté onion and mushrooms until they are soft.  Remove them from the skillet and set aside.  In the same skillet, brown the ground beef, then drain off the grease.  Add the mushrooms and onions back to the pan.

In a measuring cup, combine the beef broth, cornstarch, and tomato paste.  Stir well until mixture is completely smooth.  Pour this mixture into the skillet, add the cooked barley, and stir to combine.  Increase heat and bring liquid to a boil until slightly thickened.  Reduce heat to low and check for seasoning, adding salt if necessary (I added 1 tsp).  Garnish with fresh thyme if desired.

Makes 6 servings.

This dish is really tasty.  I just love the combination of beef and mushrooms and the little bit of tomato paste gives it another depth of flavor, without making it overly tomato-y.  The barley is really good in here too.  It bulks up the dish and adds fiber and the texture goes really well with the beef and mushrooms.

It's almost a one-pot meal, except for cooking the barley separately.  But even so, it's super easy to throw together on a busy weeknight.  It's also warm and comforting, perfect for the bitterly cold weather we are experiencing here in Wisconsin!

Looking forward to sharing another great year of recipes with you!

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