I have been making this for years – a perfect fall and winter dish – and recently refined it to come up with this version.
I do not dredge meat in flour any more before adding it to a braised dish after reading in Cook’s magazine (Cook’s mag and their cookbooks are bibles to me) that this inhibits browning and caramelization, both of which are key when deglazing the pan for a sumptuous sauce.
Beef Beer Stew
Using beer in stew makes it a “daube” in French cuisine and is a brilliant trick. I like to cut the beef in amorphous, fairly large chunks rather than neat cubes. For beer, Guinness works well. Cooking this in the oven seems to add richness and depth – it also easier to keep the slow simmer constant this way. Use more mushrooms, if desired.
2 tbsp butter
4 tbsp vegetable oil
3 onions, cut in thin wedges
4 carrots, cut in chunks
2½ lb (1.25 kg) stewing beef, cut in pieces
Salt and pepper
12-oz (341 mL) bottle amber or dark beer
28-oz (796 mL) can tomatoes, undrained, chopped
½ tsp each: dried oregano, dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
8 oz (250 g) mushrooms, thickly sliced
Chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
Heat 1 tablespoon each of butter and oil in large ovenproof saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes or until beginning to colour. Reduce heat to low and cook about 10 minutes more or until tender and golden brown. Transfer to bowl; wipe saucepan.
Sprinkle beef lightly with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in saucepan over high heat. Add beef; cook in batches in single layer until well browned all over. Transfer to bowl with onion mixture.
Preheat oven to 325F (160C).
Add beer to saucepan. Bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits from bottom and sides of saucepan. Boil about 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add onion mixture and beef along with tomatoes, oregano and thyme. Bring just barely to a boil.
Cover and cook in oven or on very low heat on top of stove about 2 hours or until meat is fork-tender. Taste; add salt and pepper.
Heat remaining tablespoon each of butter and oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes or until browned. Stir into stew. Garnish with parsley.
Makes about 6 servings.