Beef is the most requested meat in my house!  My boys would eat it everyday if I let them, but I try only make it a couple times a week. Since it is winter I made a Beef and Beer Stew today.  Who doesn’t love stew?  There are a million variations of stew and every culture has their version.  A stew is basically a tough cut of meat, think cheap, that has been cooked low and slow in a liquid (beer, wine, broth..).  You can add any vegetables you like, but normally they are hearty root vegetables such as parsnips, carrots, potatoes, turnips…

The good thing about stew is you can make it early in the day and let it go all day in a low oven or in a crock pot.  Just make sure you have enough liquid in the pot so that it doesn’t evaporate and become a burnt mess-I’ve done that before and it really sucks when you open the lid expecting a fabulous stew and find burnt pieces of meat.  
Another note about stews or soups, do not season with salt and pepper until the end of the cooking process.  Since the cooking process is long the flavors concentrate and so does the salt.  If you salt at the beginning your soup or stew will be way too salty.  About 15 minutes before serving taste for needed salt. You might not even need any if you use salted beef stock.
Stay warm!!

 

Beef and Beer Stew

Serves 4-6

2-3lb. beef chuck, cut into bite sized pieces
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2lb. bacon, chopped
1 large bottle of dark beer, such as Guiness or any other stout
2 cups beef broth
1 onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 
1 Bay leaf
3 large carrots, cut into large pieces
4 Yukon Gold potatoes, cut in to pieces
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 300°

Sprinkle beef with flour and salt and pepper.  In a large dutch oven with a lid, saute the bacon until crisp.  Remove to a plate.

In the bacon grease add the beef in batches until browned.  Be sure and take your time-the browning makes a difference in the flavor.  Remove beef to plate with bacon.

Add the onions to the pot and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.

Add back the beef and bacon to the onions.  Stir in the beer, stock, thyme and bay leaf.

Bring the mixture to a simmer.  Cover and place in oven for 2 1/2 hours.  

During the last hour of cooking add the carrots and potatoes.

Taste for seasoning and serve warm with crusty bread.