Beef, Bacon and Beer Stew Recipe- A Great Winter Meal!
Stews, braises, pot roasts – perfect, homey foods for cold winter evenings. Meals that have a lot of soul, transform cheap but tasty cuts of meat into melting tenderness and that although take a long time to percolate to completion, require very little active work in the kitchen.
Here’s an easy recipe for a beef and beer stew, inspired from the Belgian dish ‘carbonade’
There is nothing at all difficult here, and if you’ve ever made any kind of stew before, you’ll find the techniques and steps very similar to this recipe.
Beef, Bacon and Beer Stew
- 2- 3 pounds of beef chuck, cut into 1 inch cubes (As an alternative to chuck, you could use brisket)
- ½ lb of bacon, roughly chopped
- 1 large bottle (half quart) of dark beer - think porter or stout (Guinness), or any kind of darker ale
- 1 cup of beef stock
- 2 large onions (about 1 pound in total)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 Tbls of flour
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
Ideally, you can make this in a Dutch-oven or other casserole suitable for both stove top and oven cooking. If you don’t have anything like that, you can start this off in a heavy stock pot and then transfer it to a covered oven safe dish to finish.
- Preheat oven to 325f
- Sprinkle salt and freshly cracked black pepper over the beef cubes
- Heat your Dutch oven or pot on the stove to medium and sauté the bacon until it is cooked but not crisped. Remove the bacon to a plate and reserve.
- Add the beef to the pan and fry until it is well browned on all sides. Take your time on this step, because the browning you do here will make a huge difference to the taste of the finished dish. Turn the meat to get all sides to a rich mahogany hue. (learn more about the mailard reaction from browning meat and its importance for good tasting food)
- Transfer the beef to your bacon plate, and reserve.
- Toss your onion slices into the pan and sauté, stirring occasionally,
until the onions have softened completely, 10 minutes or so. Transfer the
onions to the plate with your bacon and beef and reserve.
- Take a look at your pot and see if you’ve got at least 2 Tbls of fat left in it, preferably 3 (If you don’t add in a little butter or olive oil to make up the difference) and then toss in the 2 Tbls of flour, stirring it constantly into the fat to create a roux. Keep cooking the flour and butter together stirring constantly, for about 1 minute, and then add in about 1 cup of beer.
- Whisk the beer constantly into the roux and scrape up all the tasty browned bits from the bottom of the pot. When the roux (the flour-butter mixture) is evenly incorporated into the beer, add in the remaining beer, the beef stock and the reserved bacon, onions and beef (plus any juices from the plate). At this point, you can also add in your thyme and bay leaf.
- Bring this mixture to a simmer on your stove top, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes and then cover your pot and transfer to your preheated oven. (If you were using a non oven safe pot, you will need to transfer the contents to your casserole dish at this point.)
- Let the beef stew in the oven for 2-3 hours, or until it is very tender and then season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with boiled potatoes, egg noodles or rice – and share a bottle or two of the beer that went into the stew as a perfect accompaniment!
Good winter eats.
A Great Book for Winter Cooking!
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