A Happy Accident

A few days ago I made a batch of what I thought was brown rice, except that it was crazy chewy even after (hyperbole alert) six hours’ worth of simmering. I called it barley, asked Long-Suffering Husband to get me the fixins for beef stew, and went on about my merry way. Not until today when I went to grind some whole wheat for rolls to accompany said stew did I realize that the mystery grain was actually wheatberries.

That should be the new smartphone for hippies: the WheatBerry.

The wheatberries tasted a heckuva lot like barley, though, so I forged ahead like the intrepid and frugal cook I am. Hence, the happy accident of Beef Wheatberry Stew. I lost the alliteration of “Beef Barley” but gained the internal rhyme. That works for me. Life’s all about the trade-offs, after all.

Don’t worry, the chickens got some wheatberries too. And I’m sure they will get the kids’ portions of stew after the kids melt down and refuse to eat, try or even look at it.

Beef Wheatberry Stew

2 large carrots, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
1 medium onion, also diced
3T tomato paste
1 lb. top round, cut into stew sized chunks
1 cup (more or less) red wine
5 cups beef broth
bay leaf
2 cups cooked wheatberries (or barley, for the purists)
1 container baby bella or button mushrooms, sliced
1 cup frozen peas
parsley
salt, pepper

Saute the aromatics in an oil of your choice (I used non-EV OO). Add the tomato paste and cook over medium heat, stirring. Add the meat and brown (you may need to remove aromatics from the pan and add more oil to do this, depending on the size of your pan). Add the liquids and bay leaf. Simmer gently until the meat is tender.

Add the mushrooms and grains. Cook until the mushrooms are, well, cooked.

Add the peas and parsley. Stir. By the time you’ve stirred and served it, the peas should be heated through.

Season to taste. Serve with Martha Stewart’s No-Knead Dinner Rolls, in which you can easily substitute half whole-wheat flour. That is, if you haven’t already cooked all the wheat by accident.

Enjoy!

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