Gypsy Stew


3/4 cup pearl barley, rinsed and drained
5-1/2 cups water
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup red wine
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1-1/2 cups green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
2 cups broccoli florets (about 1 small head)
2 cups coarsely sliced cabbage (about 1/4 head)
3 cups spinach, washed and dried

Cooking Instructions

Place the barley, 1-1/2 cups of the water and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Cook for about 40 minutes until all or most of the water is absorbed and the barley is cooked. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, preferably nonstick pot. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion just begins to wilt (about 3 minutes.) Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir to mix it in thoroughly. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 7 minutes until the flour is a tan color (approximately the color of peanut butter), taking care not to let the flour burn. Add the remaining 4 cups of water, remaining teaspoon of salt, wine, soy sauce, paprika, thyme, cumin, and cayenne. Bring to a boil; then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the potatoes and carrots and return to a simmer. Simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Add the broccoli and green beans and cook for another 7 minutes. Add the cabbage and cook for 5 minutes more. If the sauce thickens up too much at any point, simply add more water and adjust the seasonings accordingly. Finally, add the spinach and barley and cook until the spinach wilts and the barley heats through. Serve warm.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

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