Whiskey Beef Stew

Quick, easy, delicious slow-cooker beef stew. It’s not a hugely exact recipe, but I’ll do my best!

You need:

  • 2 lbs of stew meat (or 2 lbs of cheap beef roast, cut in chunks)
  • 1/2 lb mushrooms – I usually use cremini or shitake – cut into chunks
  • 1/2 lb carrots – cut into slices. Or a bag of carrot slices or baby carrots
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup (not low fat)
  • 1 envelope Beefy Onion Soup Mix
  • 1/4-1/2 cup whiskey or red wine (or water)
  • 1 tsp thyme

Dump the mushroom soup, the soup mix, the thyme, and the whiskey in the slow cooker. Stir it up until it’s all evenly blended, then add everything else. Stir to combine and cook for 4-6 hrs on high, 8+ hrs on low, or until the meat is tender. The resulting stew will be thin, so if you want to thicken it, make a slurry of a few teaspoons of cornstarch in a little water and add that right into the hot stew – it’ll thicken up quick!

I serve this either over rice or over slightly smashed red potatoes.

Mushroom Barley Soup

This is not a quick recipe.  It’s not particularly /hard/, but it takes some time to turn into delicious goodness.  Trust me, it’s worth it.

  • 3 strips bacon, cut into small pieces *
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb button or cremini mushrooms ** – trimmed and quartered
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1 quart beef stock (I use Kitchen Basics Reduced Sodium)
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 beef boullion cube
  • 1 cup pearl barley***
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 TBSP red wine vinegar

You’ll also need a large, heavy bottomed pot like a dutch oven.

Cook the bacon in the pot over MEDIUM heat – you want to render out the fat from the bacon – until it is crispy.  Add the onion and cook 5-8 minutes (still over medium heat) until the onions just start to turn golden.  Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook until they are tender and the pot is almost dry, 5-10 minutes.  Stir in the tomato paste and cook 1 minute more.

Add broth, barley, water, boullion cube, and oregano – bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until the barley is tender, 30-40 minutes.  If the soup needs more water to thin it out, add whatever is necessary.  Season with plenty of black pepper and stir in the vinegar.

Serves lots!

*If you are extremely averse to bacon, you will need either butter or olive oil to saute your veggies in.  Please, consider this a “splurge” food, as the bacon really does add a lot of flavor for being so small in comparison with the rest of the soup!

**Yes – one POUND of mushrooms.  I use creminis (which are the same as baby portobellos) because they’re the same price if you buy them out of bulk stock instead of in the little wrapped packages.  YMMV, as always, depending on season, region, and megamart store.

*** You can use quick-cooking barley if you like.  I keep pearl on hand, so that’s what I use.  If you use quick-cooking barley, reduce the “simmer” time to 10-15 minutes.