Friday, January 31, 2014

Recipe: Beer Beef Stew

It's freaking cold in Memphis, y'all. 

When it's cold, I still force myself to go to the gym (ugh) and the dog park (really ugh) and school (I mean this is just getting ridiculous), but I like to stay home at night and eat savory hot things. 


And I like beer. 

So hooray beer and stew and stew and beer together!

Like so many recipes I use, I adapted this one from The Pioneer Woman - this uses her Beef Stew with Beer and Paprika as a guideline, although I changed quite a few things. (Seriously though - she's my go to.)

Here's the ingredient list: 

Olive Oil 
2 tablespoons Butter
2ish pounds Stew Meat
1 medium yellow onion, roughly diced
5 cloves garlic (I like things garlicky)
1 can beer - I interpreted "can" as a pint of High Life, but whatever is fine...
3 cups beef broth
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon paprika
Kosher salt
Black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
8 smallish potatoes (or 6 bigger ones - I just used a mix of reds and Russets and they were fine)
Crusty bread

*Try to get the low sodium beef broth - the regular can get really salty. 
**Oh and hello there there "The Champagne of Beers"!

Heat oil (I used about 3 tablespoons - I have a big Dutch Oven) and butter in a large pot or Dutch Oven. Put the stew meat in and brown on high - the goal here is to get them really brown on the outside but still like a medium rare to medium on the inside. Like this: 

Once the meat is brown, remove to a plate and let sit for awhile. 

Leave the heat on, and toss in the onion.

Let that soften for a few minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 2 or so minutes. 

Now it's time for the fun. 

Pour in the beer.

Then add the stock, the tomato paste, Worcestershire, sugar, paprika, and salt and pepper. 

*I love the tomato paste in a tube. It doesn't go bad as quickly and it's easier to get out what you need without a disaster. 

*This stuff is so good. Some of the best paprika I've ever used. 

And if you didn't put all the beer in, or, if while you're cooking, it looks too dry, just put some more beer in!

At this point, you should have everything in the pot except the beef and the potatoes, and parsley. Cut the beef pieces in half - this actually makes a huge difference in how tender the beef ends up. I cut mine into probably 1/2 inch pieces. 

When the beef is back in, cover and simmer for about an hour, then check on it. If the liquid is too thick, pour some more beer in, then cover for about another half hour. 

While you're waiting, chop up your potatoes. 


Also can we just talk about Samwise is a way better character than Frodo? Frodo is so whiny ALL. THE. TIME. 

After about an hour and a half of cooking time, the stew should be ready for the potatoes. 

Let those cook for another 30 or so minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender. 

*Oh. Hello. 

While that's finishing up, grab some crusty bread: 


Slice it up and toast it just a little with some butter in another pan. I used a little cast iron skillet. 

Just until it gets that little crustiness on the edges. 

Then turn the heat off, turn the stew's heat off, and serve yourself an embarrassingly large portion. 

You can add other vegetables - PW says carrots, but I hate carrots so I didn't put them in. This starts as a stew, and is amazing, but the longer you keep it, and reheat it, and basically get pudgy just from eating this, the thicker it gets and the more kind of hearty it is. 

And maybe it will keep you warm during the arctic blast/polar vortex/Memphis' crazy ass weather.

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