Buttery beef and barley stew with green chili

I don’t know if it was general pandemic stress or the attempted coup on the government by white supremacists, but yesterday I really got a craving for something comfortable and familiar. I don’t mean to make light of a horrible situation, but jokes and food are how I cope. So I strayed from my usual gluten-free adaptations today for some traditional beef and barley stew—with green chiles because I’m from New Mexico and green chile is how New Mexicans cope. I hope you like it!


  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 5-10 cloves of garlic, to taste
  • 1 lb beef stew meat
  • 12 oz jar or can of green chile
  • 1 cup beef bone broth
  • 3.5 cups hot water
  • 5-8 carrots, depending on size, peeled and chopped into rounds
  • 5-6 stalks celery, peeled and chopped finely
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup pearled barley (skip if you are gluten free)
  • 3 tablespoons grassfed butter


Heat the avocado oil in a large and heavy soup pan or Dutch oven. Sauté the onion until it it translucent, about five minutes. Add the garlic and and the beef stew pieces, carefully —one or two at a time. Season with salt, pepper and cumin and brown the meat on all sides. Add the green chili and let simmer five minutes on low. Add the broth and water and bring to a boil. Drop the heat back to a simmer for about a half hour, and then add the carrots and celery.

Read the directions on your barley! The one I used took 50 minutes, but there are quicker cooking versions. Once your veggies are almost as soft as you’d like, toss in the barley for time it says on the package. Add the butter at the very end and stir till melted. Adjust broth for salt and serve. Makes about six large servings.

Easy no-breadcrumb meatballs

My family loves meatballs! But my stomach hates the hidden breadcrumbs. This recipe is a super simple, versatile version of the Italian favorite—and its gluten-free.

Ingredients (makes 15 two-inch meatballs):

  • One pound grassfed ground beef
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped herbs (I use parsley, but basil or oregano or a combo would work well)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix all of the ingredients thoroughly in a bowl (I find it’s best to mix with my hands). Roll the meat mixture out into 15 balls. Bake for 25 minutes, let cool five minutes before serving. These go well with any gluten free pasta and Marcella Hazan’s simple marinara.

Gluten-free empanadas

Empanadas have always been a favorite of mine, because what’s not to like about what is basically meat and pie crust? I decided to give these a shot and they are now a staple. They pair well with a soup and are great on their own as a light dinner! And the kids will eat them, which is winning around here. This makes 8-10 empanadas.


Any gluten-free pie crust recipe. This one is my favorite.

For the filling:

  • One pound grass fed ground beef
  • One onion
  • About a cup of goat’s milk cheddar (or cheese of choice)
  • 1 tsp. Chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 tsp. pimenton or smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. white pepper
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 egg, whisked

Sauté the onion, chopped, in the avocado oil until soft, about three to five minutes. Add the beef, separating it into tiny pieces. I love this tool for this task. Add the spices and cilantro and simmer on low, covered, about 15 minutes or until the meat is fully cooked.

While the meat is simmering, roll out your pie crust. Cut into circles, about six inches in diameter. Once the meat is done, add spoonfuls to the center of the crust circles, leaving about two inches around the edges. Add a spoonful of the cheese on top. Fold into a half moon shape and seal shut by pinching around the edges. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush the whisked egg onto the tops with a pastry brush. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden brown. Enjoy with salsa of your choice!