Beef Stew in Stout
This is a simple dish to make on a cold Sunday afternoon when you are home to
progress occasionally during game time-outs or between book chapters. Make a
and you'll have an easy dinner later in the week by reheating the stew gently on
while you assemble a fresh salad and set out a loaf of fresh, crusty bread. No
complain about mid-week "left-overs" with this dish.
Be sure to pick up some local mushrooms, stout, and onions to go with your
Serves 4 - 6
1.5-2 pounds stew meat, shank (boneless weight), chuck, sirloin tip, beef cheek,
round, trimmed and cut into stew-size cubes (~1 inch)
8 oz. pancetta or thick-cut bacon, cut into small pieces, slightly smaller than
8 oz. baby onions, peeled and whole OR 8 oz. onions, peeled and cut into wedges
Up to 1/3 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper (optional)
1 pint oatmeal stout
2 bay leaves
Sprig of thyme
A few stems of parsley
Water or good beef stock
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced or small, whole - button, baby portabella, or wild
Salt and pepper to taste
Butter for sweating the mushrooms
Tie herbs into a bouquet garni, and set aside. If fresh herbs are not available,
Brown the pancetta or bacon until the fat runs. Transfer the meat to a large
slow cooker. In the bacon drippings, gently fry the onions until they are
lightly browned all
over. Transfer onions to the casserole. In a large bag or bowl, toss the beef in
flour, and shake off the excess flour (optional). Brown the beef (whether
floured or not) in
the same pan in small batches, until pieces are richly dark brown on all sides.
It may be
necessary to add butter to the pan if it becomes too dry. Transfer browned meat
Pour some of the stout into the frying pan to deglaze it, scraping any residue
from the pan,
and tip all into the casserole. Pour in the rest of the stout. If needed, add a
little water or
beef stock to cover the meat. Add the herbs, and season with salt and pepper.
stew gently for about 3 hours, until beef is completely tender (see stove top,
oven, and slow
cooker options, below). Add a little hot water if the meat becomes exposed and
starts to dry
out. About 1 hour before stew is done, sweat the mushrooms gently in a little
their juices run out. Add mushrooms, together with the juices, to the stew.
Serve stew with mashed potatoes, egg noodles, crusty bread or dumplings, and a
salad. (OPENutrition folks: serve with mashed potatoes and a green salad.)
Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to simmer very gently for about 3 hours,
with the lid on
but slightly ajar. This simmer should be very slow, with a bubble or two
breaking the surface
every minute. On some stoves, it is difficult to keep the heat low enough.
Cover casserole and transfer to the oven, pre-heated to 350 degrees. When
contents start to
simmer, reduce oven heat to 250 degrees. Simmer gently for about 3 hours.
Slow Cooker (Crock Pot):
Cover cooker. Cook on high until contents start to simmer, and then reduce heat
Simmer gently for about 3 hours.
Herb Options: Use 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp. dried thyme, and 1 Tbsp. dried parsley, and place
all herbs into a small muslin bag.
Or, add 2 bay leaves, ½ tsp. dried thyme, and ½ Tbsp. dried parsley directly to pot.