A Tale of Two Stews: 2 Hearty Recipes for Chilly December Nights

I’m always looking for new and interesting ways to take the chill out of the supper air during those cool December evenings. Stews are a great way to get a hearty one-pot meal that will warm your bones and feed an army. I like to make large batches (I always cook as if we are the next 19 kids and counting!) and I freeze half for an easy week night meal later on. Here are two fantastically delicious recipes for Beef Stew and its vegetarian friendly Southwestern Barley Stew counterpart!

Classic Beef Stew

Classic Beef Stew

Southwestern Barley Stew

Southwestern Barley Stew

Classic Beef Stew

This is one that I adapted off of a Real Simple recipe. It called for a bottle of red wine and let’s the flavors cook low and slow. You can’t beat that!


4 lbs steak cut into 2-inch pieces

1 cup flour


2 onions, diced

1 6 oz can tomato paste

1 1/2 cups dry red wine

3 potatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces

1/2 bag baby carrots

2 cups beef broth

Salt to taste

1 tsp dried thyme

1 bay leaf

1 cup frozen peas, thawed


1. Toss the beef in the flour. Drizzle a large pot with EVOO and heat over medium-high heat. Brown the meat, a few pieces at a time, adding more oil if needed. Move to a plate lined with paper towels.

Start with any type of beef, the long, slow cooking leaves any meat fork tender

Start with any type of beef, the long, slow cooking leaves any meat fork tender

Seared beef

Seared beef

2. Drizzle more EVOO into the pot and add the onions and cook over medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Add in the tomato paste and toss with the onions. Pour the wine into the skillet and scrape up any browned bits. Stir in the broth, salt, thyme, and bay leaf.

3. Cover and cook the pot in a 325° F oven for 4 hours. Stir occasionally and add up to 1 cup of additional beef broth if needed. Add the potatoes and carrots during the last hour of cooking, and the peas just before serving.

A great Sunday night family meal

A great Sunday night family meal

*I  like to serve this over egg noodles for an even meatier meal!

Egg noodles like Great-Grandma use to make!

Egg noodles like Great-Grandma use to make!

Southwestern Barley Stew

This recipe comes from my new subscription to Parents magazine! It’s a great way to get kids to take in some vegetables while keeping the dish hearty and filling using grain barley.

My own easy take on a simple recipe to start!

My own easy take on a simple recipe to start!


1 quart low sodium vegetable broth (or chicken broth if you don’t need it to be vegetarian)

1/2 bag frozen pepper and onion mix

2 cups cooked barley

1 15oz can low sodium black beans, rinsed

1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes

Roasted root vegetables (I used 2 carrots, parsnips, and 1 sweet potato, all peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch chunks. 1 small onion peeled and quartered. Toss liberally in EVOO, salt, and pepper and roast at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes)

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1 lime, quartered


1. In a large stew pot bring the broth, onions, peppers, barley, beans, tomatoes, root vegetables, and salt to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, covered.

2. Garnish with cheese, cilantro, and lime wedges.

These two recipes are sure to keep you full and cozy on any winter night. Few steps and little commitment make them perfect meals to make in mass amounts and freeze for weeknight meals. Their layers and layers of flavor are sure to fool your family into thinking you slaved all day!

Eat Well,

Stephanie a.k.a. The Foodetarian

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