And autumn has started to fall, we swing from 85 in the day to 45 at night, and my tastes swing from salads to much heartier fare.
In one of my “me time” adventures, I returned to the world of bread baking (more on that later), and found myself in possession of several unused bottles of Guinness Strout. Now outside the apparent and straightforward answer (I deal with AWS, so apparent and straightforward answers do not appeal to me.), I decided a hearty beef stew would be the best match for my fresh beer and cheese bread.
I’ll serve this in large bowls, sided with buttered bread, passing grated horseradish and minced jalapenos as a flavor kicker.
A stew is a combination of solid food ingredients that have been cooked in liquid and served in the resultant gravy. A stew needs to have raw ingredients added to the gravy. Ingredients in a stew can include any combination of vegetables and may include meat, especially tougher meats suitable for slow-cooking, such as beef, pork, lamb, poultry, sausages, and seafood. While water can be used as the stew-cooking liquid, the stock is also common. A small amount of red wine is sometimes added for flavor. Seasoning and flavorings may also be added. Stews are typically cooked at a relatively low temperature (simmered, not boiled), allowing flavors to mingle.
Stewing is suitable for the least tender cuts of meat that become tender and juicy with the slow, moist heat method. This makes it popular in low-cost cooking. Cuts having a certain amount of marbling and gelatinous connective tissue give moist, juicy stews, while lean meat may easily become dry.
Stews are thickened by reduction or with flour, either by coating pieces of meat with flour before searing or by using a roux or beurre manié, a dough consisting of equal parts of fat and flour. Thickeners like cornstarch, potato starch, or arrowroot may also be used.
Stews are similar to soups, and in some cases, there may not be a clear distinction between the two. Generally, stews have less liquid than soups, are much thicker, and require longer cooking over low heat. While soups are almost always served in a bowl, stews may be thick enough to be served on a plate with the gravy as a sauce over the solid ingredients.
Beef Stew with Guinness
- 1 Heavy Bottom Stock Pot / Roaster
- 2 tbsp Olive oil Basic stuff
- 2 lb Chuck Roast Trimmed, and cubed to bite size
- 1 Ea Onion Medium, Diced
- 4 cloves Garlic Peeled, minced
- 1/3 Cup AP Flour
- 1 Bottle Good Beer Guinness, in this case
- 3 ea Carrots Peeled, cubed to bite size
- 1 lb Waxy Potatoes Yukon Gold, washed, cubed to bite size
- 1 ea Bay Leaf
- 1 tsp Thyme Dried
- 1/2 lb Mushrooms Washed, Cubed to bite size, (optional)
- Salt and Pepper To Taste
- 2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 3 tbsp Tomato Paste
- 3 Cups Beef Stock Make your own, or use low sodium, high quality stock (demiglace)
- 2 stalks Celery Washed, cubed to bite size
- Season and flour the beef
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large stockpot / heavy bottom roaster over high heat
- Add half of the beef to the pan and sear, flipping the meat once it has developed a good brown sear on the bottom, then repeating on multiple sides. Transfer the beef to a clean plate.
- Add an additional one tablespoon of oil to the pot, add the remaining beef, sear, and transfer to a clean plate.
- Reduce heat to medium-high and add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the stockpot.
- Add onion and mushrooms (if used), and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Looking for a decent color on the onions and very little moisture from the mushrooms.
- Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
- Pour in the Guinness and use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan to lift the fond.
- Stir in the beef stock, carrots, potatoes, celery, tomato paste, bay leaf, Worcestershire, dried thyme, and the cooked beef (along with any of its accumulated juices).
- Cover the pot and simmer on low for 1 1/2 hours, occasionally stirring, until the beef is completely tender and the potatoes are soft.
- Remove the bay leaf, taste, season, and balance the flavor.
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