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Italian Beef Stew with Farro

Italian Beef Stew with Farro

Serves:  6

3 tablespoons beef of mushroom concentrate, divided
4 cups water
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
2 slices thick-cut bacon or pancetta
2 carrots, thinly sliced (1 cup)
4 whole cloves
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 bay leaves
2 cups red wine
1 (14-ounce) can plum tomatoes
1 cup farro

Heat beef concentrate and water in saucepan over medium heat just until boiling.  Remove from heat.  Add porcini mushrooms, and soak for 30 minutes.  Strain, and reserve soaking liquid. 

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat.   Brown beef in batches.  Transfer to serving plate.  Season with salt and pepper.

Add onion and bacon to Dutch oven, and cook until onion is tender.  Add carrots, cloves, rosemary, tomato paste and bay leaves.  Stir in reserved liquid, wine, and tomatoes.  Return beef to pot.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 1 hours.  Stir in farro, and cook for 40 minutes or until farro is tender.  Remove bay leaves before serving.

*Farro is a food product composed of the grains of certain wheat species in whole form. If you cannot find farro, spelt will work, and you should be able to use barley or other whole grains as well -- the results won't be quite the same and you will have to adjust the cooking times.

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