Here in California with temperatures falling into the upper 70s it is getting that time of year for a hearty stew or soup.
Alright, so it doesn’t feel like the time of year for a stew. Fortunately, it doesn’t really matter what the temperature is outside. I always enjoy a rich, chunky stew. The melding of flavors is always a joy and while it used to fit better with the cold air of Michigan winter in November back when our family lived there, so what. Even if we spent this afternoon having ice cream at Sprinkles in Beverly Hills and enjoying some Neapolitan pizza at 800 Degrees in Westwood, it was great ending the day with some beer-braised beef.
This simple recipe is a Belgium response to France’s Beef Bourguignon.
2 large onions, rough chop
3 lbs stew beef
1/2 cup flour
4 bacon slices, diced
2 tablespoons oil
1 bottle of beer, brown-ale works best
1 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven at 325 degrees.
Mix stew beef, salt, pepper and flour in a plastic bag to coat the meat. Heat the oil in a dutch oven on the stove at medium-high heat. Add the beef without crowding. Cook and turn to brown sides and remove to a plate while adding more uncooked beef remembering not to crowd the pot.
Once all of the beef is brown, add the bacon to the pot and cook making sure not to burn, about 3 minutes. Add the onions and mix with the bacon then add the already browned stew beef back to the dutch oven.
Add the ale and beef stock. Bring to a boil and scrape up any brown bits in pot. Stir in brown sugar, vinegar, bay leaf and thyme. Add some salt and pepper to taste.
Bring the mixture to a boil and cover. Transfer to the oven and let it cook for 2 1/2 hours. Discard bay leaf and add some cooked carrots and potatoes if you desire.