I have to say, I used to be adamantly against hunting, and would refuse to eat venison. Over the past 10 years, and with the insight of some very responsible sportsmen, I have learned to accept it as part of how we get our food. Furthermore, between my food allergies and the high cost of meat, I now truly appreciate access to safe venison as a substitute for beef in many dishes I enjoy. I take care to ration the meat throughout the year, so none ever goes to waste.
Beef barley has always been a favorite soup of mine because I enjoy the texture of pearled barley. This Barley and Venison Stew brings the taste and texture in a leaner, thicker dish. Use whichever you prefer — beef or venison. You can also be flexible with ingredients, using what you have on hand rather than having to run to the store. The last time I made this I didn’t have any beef stock, but I did have a lovely homemade chicken broth so I used that instead. I grab handfuls of chopped frozen vegetables from the bags in the deep freezer and have the makings of a simple and economical meal. For those new to cooking, soups are a fun way to “get your feet wet” so to speak. There is so much room for creativity and customization based on your family’s individual preferences and supplies.
- 1 Tablespoon Canola oil
- 1 pound venison tenderloin, or beef roast, cut into one inch (2.5 cm) cubes
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 tsp minced garlic cloves
- 1 cup pearled barley, rinsed
- 1 cup diced carrots
- ½ cup diced celery
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cups broth (beef or chicken)
- 4 cups water
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ teaspoon ground thyme
- Heat oil on medium high in Dutch oven or large stockpot.
- Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring around often, until starting to brown.
- Add meat and brown on all sides, turning pieces frequently. When meat is just cooked through, remove pieces from pot and set aside.
- Add broth, water and barley to pot and stir.
- Raise heat to high and let just come to a boil, then lower until liquid is simmering.
- Let simmer for 20 minutes, then add carrots, celery and spices.
- Continue to simmer gently until barley is tender, adding more water if needed.
- Add meat back to pot 5 minutes before serving. Remove bay leaves and season to taste with a little more salt or cracked peppercorns.
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