The time has come to share an old family classic with you. I need to give you the context for this recipe first or else it won't make much sense.
My mom was very much a dump-and-stir cook - you dumped stuff into the bowl or pan and stirred it until it looked right. If it didn't taste right, you dumped more stuff in. It didn't have to look good, it just had to taste okay. One of these days I'll have to post the story of the beef heart to illustrate. Today, we're talking about Filboyd Studge.
My brother named this dish. I still have no idea why he named it Filboyd Studge, but the name stuck. This dish looks horrid. It's a pasty gray mush that's sticky, gloopy, and just nasty looking, but it tastes good. It's very filling and good for those dreary cold winter days, just don't expect it to look appetizing.
Back to my mom. I have eight siblings. My mom was trying to feed a horde on a tight budget and she managed quite well. She used what leftovers my brothers left in the fridge. She could stretch a pot of soup farther than you'd believe possible. She made bread from scratch several times a week. But she wasn't Betty Crocker. She made cheap dishes without recipes.
My mom's still around but she's a different kind of cook since she's only feeding herself and my dad these days. But I'll always remember the huge kitchen table that my dad made so we could all fit around it, laminated so it was easy to clean, and my mom's pot of Filboyd Studge and our jokes about which subterranean cave wall she scraped it from.
If any of my siblings are reading this, I'd love comments with your memories of this dish - how it got named, anything I may have missed in the recipe, that kind of thing. I never actually made this one so I'm going on old memories and guessing.
Whatever's left of the beef roast from Sunday dinner, usually about a cup, chopped up (she seasoned it with mostly salt, pepper, worcestershire sauce, sage, onions, and maybe garlic or oregano on adventurous days)
Whatever's left of the gravy, usually less than a cup
4-6 carrots, sliced, don't bother peeling them, they look more rustic unpeeled
half an onion (bonus points if you get the Terry Pratchett reference), chopped up
around 2 c. pearl barley
salt, I'm guessing a couple of teaspoons
pepper, some? Just season it to taste
a couple of bay leaves
Dump everything in a large pot. Add enough water to cover everything. Put on the lid and cook it on low for several hours. Stir it every once in a while and add more water if it starts sticking to the bottom of the pot. When everything becomes a sort of sticky mass and the carrots are beginning to dissolve into the mush, add salt and pepper to taste if needed, then serve. If you're feeling like a gourmet chef, you can remove the bay leaves and sprinkle some parsley over the top to make it look pretty.
Serve with hunks of homemade whole wheat bread.