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BEEF STEW WITH WHEAT BERRIES

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Nothing is more appealing on a blustery day than a big serving of this ambrosial stew. It’s great for potlucks and outdoor get-togethers because it’s easily transportable and there is nothing to add.

INGREDIENTS

6 slices bacon (about 4 ounces/125g)

1/4 cup (50 mL) whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon (5 mL) salt

1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) cracked black peppercorns

1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) cayenne pepper

2 pounds (1 kg) trimmed stew beef, cut in 1-inch (2.5 cm) chunks

2 onions, finely chopped

2 stalks celery, diced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) freshly grated nutmeg

Grated zest and juice of 1 orange

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) wheat, spelt, farro, or Kamut® berries, rinsed and drained    

1 cup (250 mL) dry red wine

1 can (5 1/2 ounces/156 mL) tomato paste

2 cups (500 mL) reduced-sodium beef stock

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, sauté bacon until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to drain. When cool, crumble and set aside. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons (25 mL) fat from pan, reserving extra.
  2. On a plate, combine flour, salt, peppercorns and cayenne. Dredge beef in mixture until coated. Discard any excess. Add beef to pan, in batches, and cook, stirring, until nicely browned on all sides. Add more bacon drippings, if required. Remove beef to a plate and reserve. Reduce heat to medium.
  3. Add onions, celery and carrots to pan and cook, stirring, until carrots are softened, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, bay leaves, nutmeg and orange zest and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add wheat berries, orange juice, red wine, tomato paste, stock and 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) water and bring to a boil. Return beef and bacon to pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until wheat berries are tender.

Tips

** The orange juice and zest add wonderful depth to this stew. If you like heat, increase the cayenne to as much as

1/2 teaspoon (2 mL).

** Browning the beef takes about 5 minutes per batch.

** You’ll need to simmer the stew for about 1 1/2 hours to ensure the wheat berries are tender.