My girls and I were able to spend five amazingly wonderful weeks in Maine this summer. As we have done in years past, we made the local farmers’ market part of our weekly routine. We arrived just in time to catch the tail end of blueberry season, the peaches came and went in less than two weeks while the fresh sweet corn made it’s way into most everything we ate - salads, muffins, chowder or straight off the cob. Inspired by the all the yummy goodness that we were finding at the market, the girls and I decided to venture out – going directly to the source.
In most cases, the local farms had a self-serve stand, offering an assortment of fruits and veggies. They were always deliciously fresh, usually having been harvested just that morning. One of our favorites ended up being Quill’s End Farm. This tiny little farm was one of several in the area that eked out an existence by selling food that they had grown or raised themselves. My cousin Molly was the first to find them, making regular visits to stock up on raw milk and eggs. She turned me on to their fresh beef, letting me know that they had just slaughtered a couple of their cows only a few days before. On the day of our visit, they had run out of all their produce but there was no shortage of beef. We came home with stew meat, ground beef, a couple steaks – all packed, sealed and ready to freeze.
2 lbs stew beef, cut into 1″ cubes
4 tablespoons flour
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
8 cups stock (I used veggie stock but beef stock will work as well)
10-12 fingerling potatoes, rough cut into bite size pieces
2 medium carrots, rough cut into bite size pieces
1.5 cups barley
1 medium-sized bunch of kale, ribboned
salt & pepper to taste
- Add cubed beef to a medium-sized bowl. Coat completely with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Mix flour, salt & pepper in a separate bowl. Cover each of the cubes of beef with the flour mixture, removing any excess.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven or stew pot. Add a single layer of beef cubes, turning regularly to brown all sides. Continue until all the cubes have been browned.
- Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until they start to brown, about 5 minutes.
- Reduce the heat. Add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT the barley. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the lid and continue to simmer for another 20 minutes, allowing the vegetables and beef to soften a bit.
- Add the barley. Cover and simmer for another 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from the heat. Stir in the ribboned kale and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.