DramaQueen, I might just do that. It'll be awhile though, as I'm probably going to make some stock tomorrow night, and I can't get up to the Asian place any time soon. I have three or four gallon-size ziplock baggies FULL of chicken scraps. I'll roast those to caramelize them, then add the roasted scraps to the stockpot with the veggies.
Argamemnon, here's how I usually do a beef stew:
-Preheat the Dutch Oven over high heat. Add a little oil to coat.
-Brown the meat. I usually do this in batches so that the pan doesn't loose temp to fast and starts "simmering" the beef instead of caramelizing it. If you use a really fatty cut, like chuck, you won't need a lot of oil, as the beef fat will render out.
-I usually keep my onions, garlic, celery, carrots, thyme, rosemary, black pepper, salt, and bay leaves in a bowl of some kind. Once the beef is browned and removed from the pan, I add those veggies and caramelize them.
-Once the veggies are caramelized, deglaze the pan. I like to do this with a little red wine, and the liquid that oozed out of the beef while it was resting in a bowl when I caramelized the veggies. Stir and scrape it around to dissolve all the brown fond from the pan.
-Add the stock, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for about an hour.
-Various frozen veggies, like peas, corn, green beans, as well as fresh diced potatoes are added in the last 10 minutes, bring the stew back to a boil, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes or until the taters are done.
-When done, season to taste with salt and pepper (if you don't already have enough in, remember I add some at the start). Tighten slightly with a cornstarch slurry to desired thickness.
I don't normally have pearl barley on hand, but if I did, I would add some while I was caramelizing the mirepoix and seasonings. That would add a nutty flavor to the stew, and the barley would cook up nice while everything simmered.
Honestly, if I had a shank or two, I would have made stock with that, the day before I made the stew. Remember, I'm a cook by trade, and think in terms of prepping items sometimes days ahead of when I'll actually need them.
Peace, Love, and Vegetable Rights!
Eat Meat and Save the Plants!