Winter warmer beef stew

This is the perfect dish for cold winter nights – tender pieces of beef stewed with carrots, mushrooms and thyme, with pearl barley to soak up all the delicious gravy, make this a really hearty, filling dish. It’s just right with the warming blackberry and cherry flavours of the Bolyki "Bull's Blood" Bikaver.

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 400g chuck steak
  • Oil for frying
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • A large handful of white mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 50ml brandy
  • 2 pints beef stock
  • 200g pearl barley
  • Salt and black pepper

Method

  1. Cut the chuck steak into bite-sized pieces and fry in a little oil until just browned, and then remove to a plate. Chop the onion and carrot and crush the garlic, and fry them all together with the dried thyme in the lovely juices left behind by the beef.
  2. Once the onion is nicely softened, add the chopped mushrooms and fry for a few minutes, and then return the beef to the pan. Turn the heat up, pour in the brandy and fry for a few more minutes, so that the beef takes on a bit of a glaze.
  3. Pour in just enough beef stock to almost cover the other ingredients, then put the lid on and turn the heat down. Leave to bubble for an hour.
  4. Add the pearl barley to the pan with the rest of the beef stock and simmer until the pearl barley is cooked through (it’ll be soft but still retain a certain bite). If you feel like there isn’t enough liquid to cook the barley, you can just add a little more boiling water.
  5. Once the pearl barley is cooked, take the stew off the heat, put the lid on, and leave it for about ten minutes – this is just to rest the meat, so it will be tender and falling apart. Serve in warmed bowls.
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