The following is an excerpt from The New Whole Grains Cookbook by Robin Asbell (Chronicle Books, 2007). The excerpt is from Chapter 5: Whole Soups and Dumplings.
Filet Mignon and Barley “Stew” with Spinach
Makes 6 cups, about 4 servings
This preparation elevates the stew to a fine dining experience. Searing tender steak pieces and then removing them allows the “fond” of brown bits in the pan to infuse the dish and simmer into a long-cooking grain without overcooking the meat. Spinach adds a note of freshness and color. Purple or black barley, or any grain, would work well here.
1 pound beef tenderloin or other tender steak
3 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1 medium carrot, chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup hulled barley, soaked overnight
5 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
4 cups coarsely chopped spinach
1. Cut the beef into 1-inch, bite-sized pieces. Combine the flour, salt, and cracked pepper on a plate, and roll half of the beef in this seasoned flour.
2. In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, heat the olive oil. Add the unfloured half of the beef, and cook over medium-high heat until the beef is browned but still rare in the center. Scrape the beef into a bowl, drain the fat back into the pan, and cook the floured beef. Transfer that beef to the bowl also.
3. Quickly add the onion and carrot to the hot pan and scrape up the browned bits. As soon as the onions are golden, add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes, until it is a shade darker. Add the barley, stock, and thyme and bring to a boil. Cover, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook for 30 to 40 minutes.
4. When the barley is tender, add the beef to the pan and reheat. Stir in the spinach. Serve as soon as the spinach is just wilted and the beef is hot.
For more whole grains recipes, read the original article, “Cooking with Whole Grains: The New Whole Grains Cookbook.”