Winter Delights and a Touch of Blue

Hearty Beef and Pearl Barley Stew with Spinach and Baby onions



What I love about this dish is that it’s both stew and soup combined. I think Rachel Ray coined this ‘culinary phenomenon ‘as a “Stoup”. I love stew and I love soup so the idea of them being combined is fantastic (to say the least). The stew side is the beef chunks and baby onions while the soup side of it is the barely and I suppose the spinach too. The barley bulks the stew up and, obviously, is the starch element to the dish – so there is no need to make rice or mash potatoes or any other side of starch, everything you’ll need is in the Stoup. Although I do suggest you have it with some crusty bread, after all it is kinda a soup.



This is a great dish to make for winter, it’s warm, filling, healthy and above all requires only one pot, yip it’s a ‘one pot wonder’.


Although it’s pretty much winter and a large amount of people associate winter with browns, oranges, beige and basically dark colours, I decided that I would style this post in light colours, well white and blue. Perhaps, I’ve been paging through too many Donna Hay’s, but for some reason I really wanted my post to be light, and to an extent editorial (is that the right word?). Perhaps, I’m not ready for winter, thank goodness it’s still fantastically reasonable in Cape Town. The rumors of Jo’burg’s weather is frightfully alarming – I’m in no mood to wear scarves, pants, vests, gloves, and beenies (ok, so I’ll never be in the mood for a beenie), let’s hope it’s an ok-ish winter, if not I’ll just have to eat a lot of Stoups to keep me warm!



Beef and Barley Stew with Spinach and Baby Onions



Serves 6


Prep time; 15 minutes


Cooking time: 1 hour and 45 minutes



1kg stewing beef, cut into cubes

3 tbsp flour

1 tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

2 tbsp canola or vegetable oil

8-10 baby onions, peeled

1 carrot, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 cloves garlic, finely chopped

5 sprigs thyme, picked

3 tbs tomato paste

½ cup red wine

5 cups beef stock

½ cup pearl barley

4 cups coarsely chopped spinach



1.Combine the flour, salt, and black pepper on a plate, then coat the beef in this seasoned flour. 2.In a large heavy-based pot, heat the oil and, in batches, brown the floured beef.

3. Remove the beef from the pot and add the baby onions, chopped carrot, celery and garlic and fry for about 5 minutes or until the onion starts to colour.

4. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes, until it is a shade darker, then add red wine and cook on high until the alcohol evaporates

5.Add the barley, stock, and thyme and bring to the boil. Cover, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook for 1 and a half hours.

6. Stir in the spinach, taste, and season if needed. Serve immediately with crusty bread.

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