Beer-braised stew

I love my slow cooker but at some point last month, water splashed near the heating element so I’m not sure if it will ever turn on again. 

Still, my love for slow-cooking is true and undying so this week I broke out my beautiful yellow Le Creuset dutch oven and made a stunning batch of beer-braised (some call this Irish, I think that’s racist) stew.  

The inspiration? A bottle of lager that I couldn’t finish over a month ago and have been obsessed with cooking with. I don’t think detail should surprise any of you, friends and readers. You all know me well by now 🙂 I  had saran-wrapped the top and secured it with a rubber band. The beer itself was totally bitter and undrinkable. Add a tsp of sugar if you’re using old beer as I did for this recipe. 

The overall cooking time is long – about 3-4 hours, but each step is pretty simple. If you pre-cut your mirepoix in advance and in bulk, this makes your prep work easy as pie.

First steps dredging 1.5 lbs of beef stew chunks (beef chuck) in flour and searing all sides in a hot dutch oven with a few glugs of olive oil. Don’t overcrowd your pan or they’ll never sear – you’ll probably have to do this in 2 batches. Mince 6 cloves of garlic and stir it around with the beef for 1 minute until lightly browned. 

Add 6 cups of beef stock, 1 cup of red wine, your bottle of (old) beer, 2 tsp tomato sauce, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1 tbsp thyme, 1 tsp sugar (optional) and 2 bay leaves. 

While that’s adjusting to a boil, I pre-cooked  3 potatoes (cut in chunks), 5 sliced carrots, 2 onions in a saute pan. Let the veggies get just a bit softened and comfortable, and add them to your boiling stew. Let it simmer, covered, for 2-4 hours. 

Dissolve 1 tbsp cornstarch in some water and add it to the mix a few minutes before serving. 

I made also made corn bread while the stew was simmering. What a killer meal, guys. This week I think I’m going to buy at least another 3-6 lbs of stew meat and zip-lock bag all the ingredients for this dish, mirepoix, everything, frozen in the fridge so I can make this whenever or for a potluck. Its so good. 

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