A+ Venison Stew

1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. olive oil
3 medium onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. Shiitake mushrooms, with stems removed, caps sliced
3 Tbs. fresh thyme, chopped, or 2  tsp. dried
1 lb. top round beef, buffalo or venison
 all purpose flour
2-1/2 cups dry red wine
4 cups beef stock
14 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
1 lb. small red potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
3 large carrots, sliced thick
 salt and pepper
1 cup pearl barley
1 quart plus 2 cups water

Heat 2 tsp. of the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and
garlic and saute until the onions are translucent. Add the mushrooms and
thyme and continue until the mushrooms are soft, about 15 minutes. After
trimming all visible fat from the meat, cut it into 1 inch cubes. Coat the cubes
with flour. Push the mushroom mixture to the sides of the pot, clearing as big a
space as possible in the center of the pot. In the center, add 1 tsp. of the
remaining olive oil and heat it. Add as many cubes of meat as will fit
comfortably in one layer. Sear the cubes on all sides, and remove them from the
pan. Sear the remaining meat in one or two batches using the remaining oil, then
return all the meat to the pan. If your pot isn't big enough for searing the
meat while the vegetables are still in it, or your vegetables are in danger of
scorching, remove the veggies before you sear the meat. (Scorching shouldn't be
a problem - the liquid in the veggies usually prevents it - but keep your eyes

Add the wine, stock, tomatoes, potatoes, and carrots. Bring the stew to
a boil. Reduce the heat, and for at least 2 hours. If the stew is too liquid,
cook it longer. If the stew gets too thick as it cooks, add more wine or stock.
Season with salt and pepper. (If you're using beef, the meat will be more tender
if you cook the stew for about 3 hours. To do this, just put a lid on the pot
once the stew reaches the consistency you like, and cook it over very low heat
for the remaining time.) As the stew cooks, bring water to a boil in a large
pan. Add the barley and until it's tender, about 35 minutes. Serve the stew with
the drained barley.

 This recipe serves 4 people. Because this recipe is for a

particular size pan, it adjusts the number of servings only in multiples of