Tag Archives: beef chuck roast

Beef Barley Stew

Nothing fancy here, just an old-fashioned beef stew with barley instead of potatoes. As you know, I try to call anything in a bowl that might be mistaken for soup, stew, to make an end run around my husband and his aversion to soup. I gave him both a spoon and fork, and he used the spoon, though. I asked him afterwards if he thought it was soup or stew and he said “stew,” so it was a win. He said it was too thick for soup, which is always “watery”—clearly, he’s not a soup connoisseur.

I could only find quick cooking barley 😦 but it still did its thickening routine, just not by soaking up so much of the liquid or having to cook so long. For vegetables, I stuck to the traditional onion,  green beans, and carrots—there’s a tasty reason those are traditional. I used a beurre manié at the end to slightly thicken the gravy.

Beef Barley Stew

  • Servings: at least 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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2-2 1/2 lb chuck roast, trimmed and cubed

olive oil or other fat for browning

1 large onion, diced

1 large garlic clove, grated or minced

2 cups sliced carrots

2 cups green bean, cut in 1/2″ pieces

5 cups beef stock

1 tablespoon tomato paste

salt & pepper to taste ( is your beef stock salty?)

1 cup quick-cooking barley (adjust times and liquid if using regular barley)

beurre manié, made from 4 tablespoons each flour and butter (see below)

  1. Choose a chuck roast with good marbling. Trim off most of the fat, especially the hard fat, and cut the meat into chunks—large if you want to eat it like a stew; bite-sized if you want to eat it more like a soup. I cut mine on the smaller size.
  2. In a heavy 6 qt. stockpot, brown the beef in about 3-4 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat until browned all over. Season as you cook, but consider how salty your beef stock might be.
  3. Add the onions and garlic and continue cooking until the onions are translucent, but not browned.
  4. Add the carrots and green beans, the beef stock and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.
  5. Stir in the barley, cover, and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes or until the barley has swelled up and become tender. 1 cup of quick-cooking barley, requires 2 cups of liquid, so I included that in my calculations when determining the amount of beef stock to use.
  6. Stir in the beurre manié until incorporated, continuing to simmer for a few minutes, to cook out the rawness of the flour.

Beurre Manié

In a small bowl, work equal amounts of all-purpose flour and soft butter together until they form a paste with no discernible lumps of flour. I use the tines of a fork for this, but you could use the back of a spoon or even your fingers. Just keep working it until it comes together. Then you can just gather it up with a large spoon and stir it into your hot, simmering or boiling sauce.

Beurre manié is one of those thickening miracles that comes in handy at the last minute. Sometimes, I make a beurre manié with masa harina corn flour and butter to thicken chili at the end. Not only does it thicken, but it adds a nice corn flavor.

Pasta with Pesto, Tomatoes, and Shredded Beef

I had a bunch of roasted tomatoes and poblano peppers in the freezer from the garden and friends, and I had used a few of each on hamburgers, but I was looking for something else to do with them and ended up making a big batch of pesto, using 1/2 cup for today’s dish and putting the rest in the freezer. It’s a parsley-walnut pesto base with the typical additions of Parmesan cheese and garlic and olive oil, then made richer with roasted tomatoes and poblano peppers.

The poblanos at first made me think of doing a Tex-Mex dish, like beef enchiladas or burritos, but the tomatoes and parsley had me leaning in more of a pasta direction. The Parmesan could go either way, because it’s a lot like the Mexican Cotija cheese. What finally led me in the pasta direction were those last five fresh tomatoes from the garden—well, not really the last because there’s a big flat of green ones in the garage that I’m hoping will ripen this fall. So this dish makes use of both roasted and fresh tomatoes.

This recipe is also about what else to do with a chuck roast than make pot roast with potatoes, carrots, and gravy. Nothing wrong with pot roast, but a chuck roast is flavorful and can be used in many other ways. I have a small chuck roast (about 2 lbs) roasting in the oven on a bed of the fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded, and 1 cup of beef broth. When the beef is done and falling apart, maybe after 3 hours, there should be a nice sauce in the pan, although it may need to be reduced on the stove. Then I’ll add the pesto and some sautéed mushrooms and mix it all with the pasta, whole wheat bow ties in this case.

Pasta with Pesto, Tomatoes, and Shredded Beef

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 350°

2 lb chuck roast

4-5 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped

1 cup beef broth or stock or bouillon

salt & pepper

1/2-1 cup Roasted Tomato and Poblano pesto (see below) or your favorite pesto

12 oz button mushrooms, sliced and sautéed in olive oil

1/2 lb pasta, cooked according to package directions

  1. On bottom of small roasting pan, place tomatoes and beef broth.
  2. Arrange chuck roast on top of tomatoes and broth. Salt and pepper the roast.
  3. Cover and roast for about 2 1/2-3 hours, until meat is easy to pull apart.
  4. Remove roast to cutting board and pull meat into shreds, discarding fat and connective tissue.
  5. If necessary, pour tomatoes and beef broth into small saucepan, bring to boil, then simmer, uncovered until it cooks down to about 2 cups.
  6. Stir in 1/2 cup pesto and taste. I don’t add any extra salt, because I find pesto to be salty enough for the whole dish. You can add more pesto to suit your taste.
  7. Stir in sautéed mushrooms and shredded beef. Pour over cooked pasta.

Roasted Tomato and Poblano Pesto

2-3 cups flat leaf parsley

1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated

8-12 roasted tomato halves (roasted with salt, olive oil, and thyme)

3-4 roasted poblano peppers, peeled and seeded

3 cloves garlic

1/2 cup walnuts

olive oil to reach desired consistency, maybe 1/2 cup

salt & pepper to taste (I felt my tomatoes and the cheese added enough salt)

  1. Place all ingredients, except oil, in a food processor.
  2. Begin processing the ingredients, adding olive oil through the chute until it all comes to a fine and thick consistency.
  3. Reserve 1/2-1 cup for the pasta dish.

Spicy Braised Beef Tacos with Cilantro Pesto

I had in mind some fabulous beef tacos I had a few years ago in a restaurant called Paladar Latin Kitchen and Rum Bar, near Cleveland, Ohio. A faculty member treated me for having helped her with some technology for her courses. It was more than a fair trade. I have no idea how the soft taco filling was actually made, but the memory was at least an inspiration for me.

I chose to braise the beef chuck roast on the stove, because I didn’t want to turn on the oven. I have my eye on a cast iron dutch oven for making such things on the grill, but while it’s still on my wish list, the stovetop will do. It’s a toss up as to whether the beef or the pesto was the hit of meal, or maybe it was the combination. Either way, I think these tacos are going on the menu of favorites.

Spicy Braised Beef Tacos with Cilantro Pesto

  • Servings: about 8 soft tacos
  • Difficulty: time-consuming
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Spicy Braised Beef

3 lb chuck roast

olive oil for browning

13 oz crushed tomatoes

up to 1/2 cup water or beef broth, as needed

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper (canned chipotle in adobo sauce would be good, too)

1/2 teaspoon salt for cooking sauce

salt & pepper for seasoning beef

  1. Heat a dutch oven over medium-high to high heat. Add 2-3 tablespoon olive oil, then brown the seasoned chuck roast on both sides.
  2. Add the garlic and spices to the pan next to the roast and stir for a few seconds, but watch that none of them burn.
  3. Add the crushed tomatoes and as much water as you think you need to keep the sauce moist for about 3 hours of simmering. I suppose it depends on the quality of your crushed tomatoes. Some crushed tomatoes seem very watery or saucy, and some are very thick and full of tomato chunks. I needed about 1/2 cup of beef broth.
  4. Bring the sauce to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a low simmer. Simmer for about 3 hours, until the meat pulls apart easily.
  5. Remove the meat to a platter or board, and pull apart. Strain out the tomatoes with a slotted spoon and add to the pulled beef.

Cilantro Pesto

2 bunches cilantro tops, cleaned and dried

1/2 cup parsley (I used my frozen, chopped parsley)

1 red onion, roasted on the grill

3 jalapeño peppers, roasted on the grill, peeled, and seeded

1 bulb roasted garlic

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup Cotija or Parmesan cheese, grated

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

*Keep in mind that roasting garlic, onion, and jalapeño produces a milder taste than the fresh versions, which may be too strong for some tastes. If you aren’t going to roast them, you might adjust the amounts to your taste.

  1. I put everything but the oil into a food processor and processed until it was all finely blended.
  2. While the processor is running, slowly add the olive oil through the feed tube until the pesto is blended.
  3. Store in the refrigerator to serve with all kinds of meats, especially in tacos.
Putting the tacos together:

Soft taco shells

Shredded cabbage—red looks nice

Spicy braised beef

Cilantro pesto

Crumbled queso fresco

Build the tacos in the order above. That was easy.