Today, because I was doing canning, I didn’t feel like running to pick up groceries. I do, however, have a well-stocked pantry so dinner prep wasn’t too bad. I buy eye of round roast when it is on sale and slice it into ½” slices, freezing them 2 slices per package. I pulled out one of those, it thaws quickly in a water bath. I had sour cream on hand, not an everyday occurrence, so I immediately thought I would do a beef Stroganoff. No fresh mushrooms, but I always have dried shiitakes that I grind to a powder, and dried porcini mushrooms as well. With an onion, some garlic, a little Dijon mustard, and some commercial beef base (not at all like bouillon cubes) I was set. But – oh no! – I did not have egg noodles. Sure I could use pasta, but with a nod to the “Russian” origins of Stroganoff, I decided to cook up some barley. Three to one ratio of water to barley, well-salted, and tossed in some of the shiitake powder for more earthy flavor and a little olive oil.
The barley cooks for nearly an hour, so I had lots of time to get the rest of the meal ready. Slice the beef into julienne strips, toss with a little salt. Chop a cup of onion, use the microplane to grate a clove of garlic. Mix about a tablespoon each of the different mushrooms into a cup of boiling water (love that instant hot water faucet!) and add a teaspoon of the beef base. Cook the onions in a skillet over high heat until most of the moisture is gone and they just start to brown. Add beef strips and cook until pink is gone, add garlic. Stir in 2 T flour and stir to cook the flour for a minute or so, then add the mushroom/beef broth and a teaspoon of Dijon mustard. Scrape down the skillet and make sure it mixes with no lumps. Add in some chopped fresh thyme and parsley, simmer for a few minutes to be sure the flour is cooked. Turn to very low until ready to serve. When barley is nearly done, add ½ c sour cream to the beef and stir to combine, be sure it doesn’t boil or it will curdle. Serve over barley.
If I were using fresh mushrooms, I would slice them and cook them with the onions. This would of course be just fine over egg noodles; the barley gave a wonderful chewy texture and earthy complement to the mushrooms and beef.
We had a nice Washington Hills Gewürztraminer, I think it was a 2006.