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Random Recipe: Beef & Mushroom Stew

Thanks to AJ Dub for transcribing this when I talked through it on podcast episode 168! I finally got around to making it again and testing the directions per my changes, so I’m sharing the deliciousness with you all. Only, you know, without inviting you to my house to eat it because I really need to vacuum the living room and clean the bathroom.

Pam’s Beef & Mushroom Stew

Adapted from  Total time: 1 hour

  • 1-2 lbs stew beef , cut into bite sized pieces (not big honkin’ chunks)
  • 1 cup “classy” red wine (Arbor Mist Blackberry Merlot with a screw top or a nice $5 Barefoot Cellar Zinfandel)
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 lb mushrooms, sliced (you might want to chop these smaller, too, but that’s personal preference)
  •  6 cups beef broth
  • ¾ cup barley
  • thyme and rosemary to taste
  • 1 tbsp flour or cornstarch to thicken the stew

Brown beef in about 3 tbsp oil in the bottom of a pan until edges are brown, to seal in juicy goodness. Once brown, add the 1 cup water and 1 cup wine. Let simmer.

In a large soup pot heat 3 tbsp vegetable oil and cook the onions, mushrooms, carrots, and celery until onions are soft and translucent.

Pour in the beef broth, and add barley, thyme and rosemary.  You may be tempted to add more barley than 3/4 cup because it doesn’t look like much. Don’t do it. Barley is the weed of stew world - give it an inch and it takes a mile and expands like mad until all you have a pot of barley that’s staged a coup and kicked all the beef and veggies to the side.

Add in 1 tbsp flour or cornstarch to thicken the broth, and then add in the meat/wine mixture. Simmer for 30 -40 minutes.

Serve with biscuits or homemade thick sliced bread to sop up the broth from the bottom of the bowl.

For My Aunt Darrelyn


You are on the best people I will ever know. I will smile whenever I think of you giving an angel the side eye for doing something wacky in Heaven and saying, “Well, I guess that’s just how they are.”

Live and let live.

You’ll be missed, and my life is so much better for having had you in it. Thank you for teaching me how to meet life’s obstacles with grace and dignity. A maybe a tiny bit of gin.

Rest in peace.

Happy Birthday Morelli!

Dear Morelli-

If it fits, I sits.Today you are One. Almost as old as your big brother/best friend, and now, finally, bigger than him too.  Where Jett is more of a fireplug, you are long and lithe. I would say that you are the epitome of grace in a cat, but to be honest, you are often as graceful as a baby giraffe - all long legs and skittering around and running into things because you haven’t quite grasped the dimensions of your own body.

You’re a little more reserved than your brother, and very attached to him.  I think that’s one of the reasons you were in the kitten room so long, that association with Jett and his Bad Eye which scared off a lot of people. And to be honest, I don’t know that you stuck out in our minds when we entered the kitten room other than than as That Cat That Sits On Jett’s Lap. Jett sat on my son’s lap, ergo, you also sat on my son’s lap by sitting on Jett.

I think your backstory is a little sad; you had a sister that came in to the shelter with you, but she died very young. You were 6 months old when we brought you home, and you’ve been nothing but joyous since.  Well, I say joyous even though when you meow it’s as if the contents of your teenage emo diary come pouring out in one mournful sound. I rarely hear you meow in another room without thinking (or yelling out loud), “MY FEELS!”. Honestly, when you adopt a large-ish kitten named after a sexy Italian cop, it’s a bit of a shock to discover that he’s more Village People Cop than tough guy cop.  A pleasant shock, however, since you are one of the sweetest cats I’ve ever known.

Morelli has many feels about National Quilting Day.You are definitely in touch with your feels.  You are very clear when you need a bit of Mommy Snuggling Time; sadly (for me) it usually only lasts around 3 minutes before you get up to go find your brother, but those 3 minutes are happening more frequently, and are accompanied by your musical purr which is one of the sweetest sounds in our house (second only after bacon cooking).

I’ve had brown tabbies before, and you definitely keep up the reputation of being one of the more playful breeds (if not necessarily one of the brightest).  Your love of the fabric yo-yo’s is legendary, and not a day goes by where you aren’t carrying around a fur mouse to hide in someone’s shoe.

While you love your brother, you are less sure about having a little sister. Especially a potentially pesky spitfire of a sister like Nina, who can still fit in small spaces that you can’t. You’ll probably have a fit that I captured this on film, but sometimes you take a break from chasing her to be sweet and hold her paw.

So happy birthday, my darling Big Handsome Boy. I’m so glad you’re in my life.