Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day 8: Filet Mignon and Barley Stew with Spinach

Tonight was particularly challenging for me.  It's the third Tuesday of the month, and that's the night when my book club meets.  We do a potluck, and this month it was my turn to make dessert.  Paul said it was okay for me to slide a night on the 50 in 50 challenge, but I've already skipped one night -- I don't want to make a habit of that. So I decided tonight to cook Filet Mignon and Barley Stew with Spinach.  I also got Paul a dinner date, and invited our friend Heather over.  The stew was served with some biscuits out of a can (sorry, I ran out of time), and I left a couple apple crisps that I made for the book club.

Paul said dinner was great (what a shock!).  I'll have to find out tomorrow what Heather thought.  I have to admit it sure looked good!

And because I simply seem to be unable to follow directions exactly:  I didn't use Filet Mignon.  The recipe said you could substitute with another tender steak.  I think I used a New York Strip -- don't remember now.  I didn't have fresh thyme so I used 1 tsp dried, and I didn't bother chopping the spinach since I used baby spinach. Also I used Kitchen Basics beef stock which has 4 cups of stock in the box, so I added 1 cup of water to make the 5 cups.

Filet Mignon and Barley Stew with Spinach
The New Whole Grains Cookbook
Yield:  Serves 4

1 pound beef tenderloin or other tender steak.
3 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1 medium carrot, chopped
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup hulled barley, soaked overnight
5 cups beef stock
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
4 cups coarsely chopped spinach

     Cut the beef into 1 inch bite-size pieces.  Combine the flour, salt, and cracked pepper on a plate, and roll half of the beef in this seasoned flour.  In a large Dutch oven or soup pot heat the olive oil.  Add the unfloured half of the beef, and cook over medium-high heat until the beef is browned but still rare in the center.  Scrape the beef into a bowl, drain the fat back into the pan, and cook the floured beef.  Transfer that beef to the bowl also.  Quickly add the onion and carrot to the hot pan, and scrape up the browned bits.  As soon as the onion is golden, add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly for 2 to 3 minutes until it is a shade darker.  Add the barley, stock, and thyme and bring to a boil.  Cover, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook for 30 to 40 minutes.
     When the barley is tender, add the beef to the pan and reheat.  Stir in the spinach.  Serve as soon as the spinach is just wilted and the beef is hot.

Oh, and the apple crisp?   I used the recipe from the Food Network website.  I guess Paul and Heather were too full to have dessert, but it was a big hit with my book club.

Tomorrow night I'm cooking again from The New Whole Grains Cookbook:  Pecan and Wild Rice-Stuffed Squash!


  1. It was delicious!! I'm kind of wishing that I'd taken some leftovers for my lunch tomorrow. Speaking of tomorrow, that squash sounds really good. We have some squash here waiting to be cooked, so I might use your recipe after you test it.

  2. Yes, it was delicious, and it was delicious for my lunch today too!