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Beef and Barley Stew with Mushrooms and Gochugaru

This simple beef stew is a crowd-pleaser with the benefit of looking much more complicated and impressive than it actually is to prepare. It’s easy to adapt – while the recipe calls for carrots, you could substitute them with any root vegetable you have on hand. You also have flexibility on the mushrooms – they are sautéed and added at the very end, so pick your favorite. We love this with chanterelles or trumpet mushrooms especially. We prefer this cooked on a stovetop, but you could easily adapt it to a weeknight crockpot meal by cooking on low until meat and vegetables are tender (about 8 hours) and sautéeing the mushrooms just before serving.

This recipe calls for gochugaru red chili, which can be found easily online or in Asian supermarkets. Gochugaru is a Korean red chili that is slightly sweet with a gentle smokey heat to back it up. It’s a common flavor in Korean soups and stews and adds an extra dimension of flavor here. However, in a pinch, it can be subbed out for other chilis such as Aleppo or Espelette. If you plan on buying gochugaru to make this stew (and you should!), look for courser, sun-dried flakes, rather than finely ground.

This recipe also calls for 1/2 cup of pinot noir, so pick your favorite! You’ll have plenty left over to enjoy a glass with dinner.


1 lb. beef brisket, cut into 1 inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tbs. canola oil
1/2 tbs. unsalted butter
1 large carrot, diced
1 small bulb fennel, small diced, reserve frond
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tsp. gochugaru (or Aleppo or Espelette pepper if unavailable)
1/2 cup pinot noir
6 cups chicken stock
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup pearled barley
8 oz. mushrooms (chanterelles, hedgehog, trumpet, or others) cleaned and torn
Minced fresh parsley & reserved fennel frond, for garnish
Arbequina olive oil, for garnish

How To Make

Season brisket with salt and pepper. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat 1/2 tbs. oil over high heat until lightly smoking. Working in batches if necessary, add beef and cook, turning occasionally, until well browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a large platter.
Add carrot, onion, celery, and fennel to pot and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and gochugaru and cook for an additional minute. Remove vegetables into a heat-proof bowl and reserve.
Deglaze the pan with pinot noir and stir well, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the chicken stock, brisket, thyme, and bay leaf and bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to maintain a low simmer and cook until beef is tender, 60 to 90 minutes. Remove thyme stalk and bay leaf, add barley and reserved vegetables and simmer until barley and vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
In a separate sauté pan heat 1/2 tbs. canola oil and butter over medium-high heat. Once the butter is melted and the foaming subsides, add torn mushrooms and sauté well until browned for 6 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add to stew.
To serve, portion stew into bowls and garnish with parsley and fennel frond with a drizzle of Arbequina olive oil.
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