Beer Braised Beef Stew

When fall and winter is upon us, there is nothing like a comforting, tummy warming stew. This is one of my all-time favourites. You can make it as spicy as you like and if you like to put potatoes in your stews,(I much prefer serving stew with mashed potatoes) you can change out the turnips for 4 or 5 small red potatoes cut in half. Once you know the technique for making stew (or braising) it is really simple and it perks away nicely while you read a book!

Makes approximately 4 servings

dsc_2664-jpg-nx21 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp + 1 ½ tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. EVOO (approximately)
2 ½ lbs. beef stew meat, cut into 1 ½” chunks, preferably chuck
1 large onion, cut into wedges
½ green pepper, cut into chunks
1 bottle dark beer or stout (half for the stew & half for the cook)
1 ½ Tbsp. tomato paste
¼ to ½ tsp. dried chili flakes
1 – 2 cups beef stock or tinned low-salt broth**
3 medium sized carrots, thickly sliced on the diagonal
½ a small turnip, cut 1” cubes, about 2 cups

In a small bowl combine the garlic, 1 ½ tsp. brown sugar, the cumin, salt, pepper & cinnamon. Mix together. Pat the meat dry of excess moisture & rub all over with the spice mixture. Put the meat cubes on a large platter, cover & leave for about 1 hour at room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Heat a heavy, deep skillet or dutch oven & add the EVOO. Place some of the beef cubes into the pan and brown them on all sides. Don’t crowd the meat or it will not brown properly, so perhaps ½” between the cubes. Continue browning the remaining beef cubes in the same manner, removing them to a platter as they are browned & adding more EVOO if necessary. When you have finished browning the meat, turn down the heat under the pan. Add the onion wedges & green pepper & sauté until the onions are wilted a bit, approx. 5 minutes, stir in the chili flakes & cook for 1 minute.

Meanwhile, stir together the beer, tomato paste & remaining 2 Tbsp. brown sugar. Return the beef to the pan & add the beer mixture. Add 1 cup of beef stock/broth to the pan, stir everything together & place in the oven for 1 ½ hrs. Add the vegetables & more stock if you think there should be more (½ cup to 1 cup) as you want the vegetables to have some liquid to braise in. Continue braising the stew for approximately 30-40 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Carefully remove the pan from the oven & place on a stove top burner on medium low heat. Stir together approximately 1 Tbsp. potato starch & 2 Tbsp. beef stock; adding half to the stew and cook until thickened. If you would like it a bit thicker, add a bit more of the mixture and cook until the stew is nice & shiny (just a couple of minutes should do the trick).

All you need now is a baguette!

If you would like to make stock, click Making Stock.

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