Saturday, April 30, 2011

Savory Beer Stew

Being in Portland, anything with beer goes.  I've been told that Portland began the second revolutionary era for the brew, but I suppose Portland takes credit for a LOT of things.  But beer is one thing they treat with respect around here.  Micro-brews around every corner.  It's right up there with coffee and wine.  It's not just for the college frat parties and Monday night football- it's a respected, complex beverage with character.

I've wanted to try cooking with beer.  Beer bread, fondue, marinades...etc.  But Beer Stew?  Now that's intriguing.  When you cook with beer you really get the hop or malt flavors.  So if you want to barely taste it, cook with something lighter, but if you want them to say "hey- what IS THAT in there?!" go with something a little more robust.

Ree (from Pioneer Woman) has plowed the frontier for many of us bloggers.  She presents a lovely stew using a lighter Budweiser.  Now, no offense to St. Louis, but I wanted to go for something with a little more punch: Chris' favorite, the Indian Pale Ale.  We've learned that it was just a regular pale ale, but because it was coming on ships from India it got it's redish hue from it's time in the barrels during the journey.

We chose Full Sail's IPA.  It's not a boutique Microbrewery, but it's local from Hood River (our favorite day-trip destination spot from Portland, winery and restaurant reviews coming soon) and the windsurfing there is so fun to watch (hence the "sail").

My pictures are not as stunning as Ree's, but here's her take in case you get lost on mine. click here.

Savory Beer Stew

ABOUT 2 HOURS COOK TIME, 30 MIN PREP- but well worth it.

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoon Butter
1.5-2 pounds Stew Meat
1 whole Medium Onion, diced
5 cloves Garlic, minced
1 bottle of Beer (definitely something you like)
4 cups Beef Stock (or 4 cups water + 4 beef bouillon cubes)
2 cups Water
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
½ teaspoons Paprika
½ teaspoons Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Sugar
4 whole Carrots, washed, unpeeled, and roughly sliced
4 whole Russet Potatoes, quartered
Minced Parsley for garnish

Start by pat drying your meat.  This ensures a good sear and the foundation of your stew's flavor.

Heat your butter and olive oil in your stewing pot over medium high heat.  Brown the meat in batches, just a couple of minutes for each batch.

You want the coloring, not fully cooked through.  The stew will do that for you later.  So succulent.

Dice your onion.

Give your garlic a good smashing, then dice as well.

Saute those in the brown bits, adding a little more olive oil if needed.  Add some salt and pepper at this point too.

After about 7 min, add your beer and beef stock.  I went ahead and used bullion cubes.  I love making veggie or poultry stock from scratch, but beef stock with bullion or canned is just fine.

Plus, unwrapping the little present of flavor is kinda fun.

Now is when that IPA begins to do it's beer magic.  PS: you'll be cooking the alcohol out of it, so it's totally fine for the kiddos.  Add the extra water at this step too.  Not an IPA person?  More of a lighter style beer chef?  Try my mussels steamed in beer recipe.

Turn up heat to boil.

Exhibit A: cramping hand
While waiting for the boil, back to your meat.  You want to cut it up into smaller pieces.  It is easier to cut steak with a little more structure to it, so maybe that's why Ree did it in this order, but honestly my hand started cramping (exhibit A).  But like an athlete in the 4th quarter, I was not going to let this stop me.  I pushed through and stretched out/got some Gatorade after.  Haha, I should do a post on "ergonomic kitchen stretches and posture."

My friends always said I had the wrinkliest hands.  It's like a city road map.  

In goes the meat.  And salt.  Throw in some freshly cracked pepper too.

And Worcestershire sauce.

Stop.  Take a moment and waft it in.  It's starting to smell wonderful.

Don't forget your sugar.  An interesting ingredient that helps balance the beer, the salt and all the flavors of the stew.

The tomato paste really adds a richness.  The acidity from the tomatoes is needed.

And now the paprika.

The hard part: Simmer for an hour and a half.  I left it a-jar most of the time to let some water evaporate and thicken the stew.

Have your rustic carrots and potatoes waiting patiently to be added in.

When it comes time, add them in.  Simmer for 30 minutes, lid on.

Hello IPA goodness.

Sprinkle parsley at the end.  It really livens it up.  And some good bread for juice soaking would compliment this bowl nicely.

1 comment:

  1. I knew I loved Chris for more than just his love for you! Tom loves IPA too, and anything from Full Sail is awesome.Those folks in Portland do brew swellllll.