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Recipe Source:
In Pursuit of Flavor
by Edna Lewis with Mary Goodbody,
 University of Virginia Press,
December 1999 (paperback)



Beef Barley Stew

Serves 4

"When I was a child we would often have beef barley stew in the late fall after
a steer had been butchered. It was always hung in the hide so that meat could
be carved from it when needed. The stew was a nice dark brown with lots of
pieces of beef and barley in it. Barley, a dried grain, is sold in health-food
stores as well as supermarkets. I also like to add sautéed wild mushrooms
to plain beef broth for a flavorful and simple garnish.

"I find that today beef has to be treated a little specially to bring out its flavor,
and, even so. It does not have as much taste as it once did. Roasting the meat
and bones in the oven seems to be the best way to get good taste, and I cook
the entire stew in the oven. Since chuck bones seem to have the best flavor, I
ask the butcher to save them for me until he has a few pounds and then I freeze
them to use as I need. I think it is a good idea to look for carefully raised beef.
Some butchers and specialty shops and even farmers’ markets carry organically
raised beef as well as pork and chicken in limited quantities. It is more worth-
while to seek out such meats than to spend a lot of time preparing a dish that
will taste disappointing."

4 pound chuck bones
2 pounds lean beef cubes
1 medium onion, sliced
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 bay leaf, broken into pieces
3 quarts cold water
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup uncooked whole-grain barley

Wash the bones and meat and pat dry with cloth. Heat a heavy skillet and brown the meat on all sides. Set the browned meat aside. Put the bone
 in a large shallow roasting pan with the onion, thyme and bay leaf. Add 1
quart of water and set in a preheated 350-degree F. oven for 1 1/2 hours
to brown, turning occasionally.
Heat the remaining 2 quarts of water until just hot. Add with the parsley,
cubed beef, and pepper to the roasting pan, stir well, return the pan to the
oven, and reduce the heat to 300 degrees F. Cook for about 2 hours, until
the meat is tender. Remove the pan from the oven and strain the broth, discarding the bones and onion but saving the meat. Add the barley to
the broth and continue to cook in the 300-degree F. oven for an hour,
until the barley is tender. Season with salt and pepper, if needed, and
add the pieces of meat to the soup a few minutes before taking the
pan from the oven.


Beef Soup with Wild Mushrooms

Serves 4

After straining the broth, remove the meat. Slice 7 to 8 wild mushrooms,
such as shiitakes or morels
, and lightly sauté them in about 1 tablespoon
of butter
. Stir 1 tablespoon of Sherry into the beef broth as you reheat it. Garnish each soup bowl with 6 to 8 slices of sautéed mushrooms and a tablespoon or so of peeled, seeded, and cubed tomato. You may add
the meat to the soup or not, as you desire.


Thirteen-Bean Soup

Serves 4

"It seems that there are often thirteen different kinds of beans in a
packaged mixture of dried beans. I add a cup of black beans, which
may bring the number of beans used up to fourteen, but it really does
not matter. You could make this same soup with six kinds of beans,
or three kinds, or eight. I think it is the pork that makes the soup so
Further south than Virginia, which is my home, pork is cured in salt
and nitrites and then dried. In Virginia and Kentucky, where it gets
colder, the pork is smoked. The pork we use has a streak of lean too,
while in the Deep South it generally does not. For this recipe, you can
use smoked bacon or another kind of smoked pork, or, if necessary,
streak- of-lean in brine. I would not use fatback; it has no lean."

1/2 cup black beans 2 cups mixed beans
1 pound smoked pork shoulder or streak-of-lean
1 medium onion
3 quarts cold water
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Salt to taste
1 cup peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup good Sherry

Wash the beans and pick them over, casting out any stones or bad beans.
Put the pork, onion and beans in a large pot. Add the cold water, thyme,
bay leaf and pepper. Set the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a
lively simmer. Turn down the heat and keep the soup at a low simmer
for for 2 1/2 hours. Remove the beans from the heat when done and let
them cool. Reserve the liquid. When the beans are lukewarm, season
them with salt and more pepper, if needed. Add the tomatoes and olive
oil, and blend the mixture briefly in a blender until just smooth, but not
liquefied. Add the liquid to the puréed beans, and taste for seasoning.
You may not need all the liquid. Stir in the Sherry and reheat until hot.


She-Crab Soup, Charleston Style>

Serves 8

"She-crab soup is supposed to be made with female crabs only, which often
are tastier than male crabs. The crab roe is added for flavor. This delicate
soup is prepared similarly to the way crab soup is cooked in Charleston,
where it is famous. If crab roe is not available, hard-boil 4 chicken eggs
and crumble half an egg yolk in each bowl before ladling in the soup."

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
3 cups milk
4 cups (1 quart) heavy cream
1 pound crabmeat, picked free of
all shell and cartilage
2 tablespoons Sherry
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups crab roe, if available
Finely chopped parsley, for garnish

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. When the butter is
melted, slowly stir in the milk so that it is well mixed. Leave the milk on
a low burner and cook for 15 minutes. Stir the milk every now and then
to keep it from burning on the bottom – don’t let it come near a boil.
Pour tPour the cream into a wide frying pan. Cook briskly for about 10 minutes,
until the cream is thick. Pour the cream into the butter-and-milk mixture
and stir well. Add the crabmeat and pour the soup into the top of a double boiler set over simmering water. Cook for about 30 minutes to let the
flavor develop. Season the soup with the Sherry, salt and a good sprinkling of cayenne.
Add the crab roe if you have it and check the seasoning; if you don’t have
it, use hard-boiled eggs as suggested in the recipe introduction. Garnish
with parsley and serve hot.

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