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Barley Burger Stew

When I first met Doug 18 years ago, my recipe file had very few kid-friendly, yet adult pleasing recipes! I could turn out a fabulous raspberry soufflé and was just then studying how to bake authentic French bread, complete with throwing water in my oven lined with clay tiles (I'm sure glad I sold that condo as I doubt that was very good for the oven!) "So exactly what was I to prepare for a 5 and 11 year old when I was cooking??" I logically turned to my sister, Kathleen, who provided me with a number of dishes that kids love, but are also appealing to adults. With the 5 year old now a senior in college, we had not made it in years. Last week I decided to try it again with a few adult modifications a discovered that you don't need to have kids at the table to enjoy this. - Linda Pendleton

Serves 4


1-1/2 pounds ground chuck
1 medium yellow onion, diced into small pieces
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 /4 cup barley
3/4 cup of celery, sliced
46-ounce can of tomato juice
2 teaspoons chili powder
several good shakes of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Sriracha
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt & fresh ground pepper


Begin by heating a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven. Add the onion & garlic and sauté until translucent. Add ground chuck, and cook just until browned. Add the tomato juice, sliced celery, barley and spices and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, and continue to simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until nice and thick. I often cook this most of the way the night before we plan to eat it, and then finish it off for 15 minutes before serving. This is a great meal for after the basketball game, or other activity, as it can be microwaved or easily re-warmed on the cooktop.