Tag Archives: Great Canadian Cookbook

Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Stew for Chilly Nights

Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Stew for Chilly Nights

By Wanda Baker

When I was a young child growing up in a small town, I encountered my first moose. Not in the woods or side of the road but in my father’s garage. My dad was a hunter and enjoyed heading out to the wilderness whenever his name was drawn. I had innocently wandered into the garage and found a moose waiting to be butchered. Whether I knew it was there or not, I was always curious. Over the years stew came to us in many variations: moose, deer and of course, beef.

When I left that small town, I started cooking for myself leading to all kinds of experimentation. My mom made her stews fairly simple using onions, carrots, potatoes — all the usual suspects. I stuck with beef, chicken or pork since game meat wasn’t readily available. I learned to brown the meat and add flavour enhancers like garlic and ginger.

Over the years my stews have changed to suit our family and our busy lifestyle. Slow cooker stews make dinners quick and easy when we have to eat and run. But I’ll always remember the moose from my childhood and the delicious stew that followed.

Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Stew, Courtesy of Wanda Baker, bakersbeans.ca, Calgary, Alta.

Beef and Barley Stew Bakersbeans

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 6-8 hours
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients:
1-2lbs beef stew meat (1 inch cubes)
Canola oil
1 small onion, diced
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 carrots, medium size, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups beef broth
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp ginger, minced
1 cup barley
Salt and pepper

Directions:
1. In a skillet over medium high heat add your oil, and brown beef in small batches. Remove from pan, and place in slow cooker. Continue until all beef is browned.
2. Turn heat down, pour a little more oil into pan, and add your onions, carrots and celery stirring for about 5 minutes. Toss in garlic.
3. Pour in a splash of beef broth, and scrape up all the brown bits from the pan. Add contents into slow cooker with beef.
4. Add remaining beef broth, bay leaves, soy sauce, ginger, and a pinch of salt & pepper to the slow cooker. Toss in your barley and cover.
5. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Serve with mashed potatoes, noodles or rice.

Bakersbeans
Wanda Baker is a Calgary-based lifestyles and food blogger since 2006 and has been cooking with her mom in the kitchen since age five. Look to Bakersbeans for delicious recipes and family adventures in Calgary and beyond.

Weeknight Dinner Hero: Pizza with Broccoli Sauce

By Kacey Joanette

When it comes to dinner, pizza is usually a family favourite because it can easily be customized to suit anyone’s likes and dietary concerns. Homemade pizza is a favourite here and weekly pizza night is not something new. But eating a lot of the same meal can sometimes become repetitive, and my family finds coming up with unique pizza toppings is fun and exciting. This broccoli sauce was definitely created by the need for change. Not only is it different, but it’s also a great way to get nutritious veggies into your child’s diet. Hiding broccoli in this pizza sauce is a great way to introduce it to your child.

Growing up we had the same sides: steamed or boiled veggies with butter. They were nothing special, and definitely not memorable (sorry, Mom and Dad!) Creating recipes on my own time and experimenting a lot with different cooking methods, I have come to appreciate the finer qualities of simple ingredients. My daughter is a good eater and requests broccoli often, but I want to steer clear of plain and simple sometimes, especially if she is having friends over who may not be as fond of certain veggies. Being able to hide broccoli in this pizza sauce is fantastic for the child in your life who does not get enough greens or the child who loves them but wants a change. Top the sauce with cheese and their favourite toppings and they’ll never notice the broccoli!

Homemade Pizza with Yummy Broccoli Sauce
This sauce is so delicious, your child won’t ever suspect it’s chock-full of broccoli.

BroccoliPizzaSauce_888x600

 Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Yield: Sauce for one large pizza

Ingredients
1/2 lb (225 g) broccoli
1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
1 tbsp (15 mL) all-purpose flour
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup (250 mL) heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup (50 mL) vegetable broth (approx)
1/2 tsp (2 mL) red chili flakes
salt and pepper
pizza dough for 1 pizza
mozzarella cheese
asparagus (optional)
red pepper (optional)
artichoke hearts (optional)
olive oil (optional)
balsamic vinegar (optional)

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 475ºF (240ºC).
2. In food processor, blend broccoli until puréed (about 2 cups/500 mL).
3. In large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in flour and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until evenly combined and roux is deep brown (the longer you cook it, the deeper the flavour and the less likely it is to taste like flour.)
4. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Whisk in cream. Stir in broccoli, broth, chili flakes, salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until sauce is thick and creamy.
5. If necessary, stir in additional vegetable broth to thin sauce until spreadable.
6. Roll out pizza dough and spread with sauce. Top with your favourite pizza ingredients, such as mozzarella cheese, asparagus, red pepper and artichoke hearts. (I marinated the asparagus and red pepper with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, then added to pizza along with artichokes.)
7. Bake 15 to 18 minutes, or until crust golden and cheese is melted and bubbling.

TheCookieWriter
The Cookie Writer is all about recipes that can be easily adapted to suit dietary and lifestyle choices.