We’re heading to California for a few days this week and I couldn’t be more excited to shake off the cold and get out of this winter rut we seem to be stuck in. I don’t know why, but this winter seems to be dragging on so much longer than usual. But until we’re enjoying warmer weather, what better to beat the winter blues, than with a hearty bowl of stew?
Beer and beef are a perfect combination. I love cooking with beer. I think I was more excited about turning 21 so I could finally buy alcohol to cook with. This time I used Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, but I’ve used Red Stripe, Yuengling and Sam Adam’s Boston Lager in stew all with good results.
I like my vegetables to have texture, and not be boiled into mushy submission, so I add the carrots and potatoes half way though cooking.
Beer Braised Beef StewFor the beer, I used Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, but I’ve used Red Stripe, Yuengling and Sam Adam’s Boston Lager all with good results. 2 1/2 to 3 pound cut of beef chuck Kosher salt Olive oil 2 medium onions, cut to 1/2-inch dice 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 tablespoon butter 3 tablespoons flour 1 beer of choice, 12 ounces 1 cup water 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce 3 sprigs of fresh thyme 2 bay leaves Fresh ground black pepper 1 pound small potatoes, larger ones cut in half 1 pound carrots, cut into 2-inch chunks 1 cup frozen peas
Trim beef of any large portions of visible fat, and then cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes. Pat dry and season with salt.
Heat dutch oven or heavy bottom pan over medium to medium-high heat with about one tablespoon of olive oil. Add half the meat to pan and sear for three to four minutes without flipping; adding additional olive oil if needed. Flip meat to opposite sides and sear for an additional three to four minutes or until nicely browned. Remove to plate. Sear remaining meat; remove to plate.
Lower heat to medium and add onions and additional oil, if needed. Sauté onions until softened; about five minutes. Add garlic and saute for an additional minute. Add butter and flour and sauté for 30 seconds. Add beer, water, Worcestershire and pepper. Return meat and any accumulated juices to pan with thyme and bay leaves. Bring to boil, cover and reduce to simmer. Simmer over low for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally and adding additional water as needed.
Add carrots and potatoes to meat. Continue simmering for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until potatoes are cooked through. Stir occasionally, so vegetables cook evenly. When vegetables are done to your liking, add peas and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Serve with homemade biscuits, if desired.