Beef + Barley Stew

Let's embrace the cold weather and make this stew.  

Beef + Barley Stew

2 pounds lean stew meat, cut into small bite sized pieces

high heat oil, such as canola or grape seed

1 large yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons tomato paste

4 cups water

2 quarts beef stock

1 cup pearled barley

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

1 1/2 cup diced carrots

1 cup diced celery

1 1/2 cup diced cremini mushrooms

s + p

Season meat with salt and pepper.  In a large pot, set over high heat, brown meat in oil.  Work in batches to avoid crowding the pan.  Set browned meat aside.  

Brown onion in pot, stirring frequently to avoid burning.  Add garlic and tomato paste, cook, stirring until browned.  Stir in meat and accumulated juices, water, stock, barley, bay, thyme and rosemary.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.  Simmer 1 1/2 hours until meat and barley are tender.  Skim off any fat or foam that occurs during simmering.  

Add carrots, celery and mushrooms.  Simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Remove bay leaf.  Serve hot.