Friday, March 7, 2008

Beef And Beer Stew

Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 3 hours plus resting
Yield: 8 servings

5 pounds beef brisket, cut into 2-inch cubes
Salt and pepper
1 stick (4 ounces) butter
4 pounds onions, sliced
6 tablespoons flour
One 12-ounce bottle dark beer
3 cups beef broth
3 pounds yellow-fleshed potatoes, such as yukon gold, peeled and quartered
1 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 325°. Season the brisket with salt and pepper. In a large, heavy skillet, melt 1 teaspoon butter over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the brisket and cook for 8 minutes; transfer to a large Dutch oven and reserve the skillet.

Add 2 teaspoons butter to the skillet. Add one-third of the onions and cook over medium heat until softened; push to the side of the pan. Repeat with the remaining onions, then cook over medium heat, stirring, until browned, about 8 minutes more. Transfer to the Dutch oven. Add 3 tablespoons butter to the skillet, over medium heat; add the flour and cook, stirring, until the mixture is golden. Whisk in the beer, then the beef broth; bring to a boil, whisking until smooth.

Pour the sauce over the meat and onions and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover the pot and cook in the oven for 2 hours. Remove the lid and cook until the meat is fork-tender, 30 minutes. Set aside and let rest for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pot, place the potatoes in salted water to cover; bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Drain and return to the pot. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons butter and mash. Beat in the milk and season with salt and pepper. Serve the stew over the mashed potatoes.

Tips and Tricks
To start with, I didn't take three hours to cook this and I cut the recipe down. I used about 2 pounds of london broil, fat trimmed off and cut into small cubes, then browned it in the butter and drained it. While the meat cooked I made the sauce, using half of an onion and the full amount of the other ingredients. Then I drained the meat and returned it to the pot, added the sauce, covered it and cooked it for about an hour. I also threw in some sliced carrots. The meat was nice and tender, so cooking it for three hours was not necessary. And since cooking the meat and the onions uses so much butter (I used Smart Balance), I didn't add any more to the potatoes. I also used Guinness in the sauce. I'm not a fan of Guinness (Read: it tastes like motor oil), but this sauce had a nice flavor to it. My mother-in-law, who is not a beer drinker at all, also liked it. This recipe could probably be adapted for the crockpot, but gravies in the crockpot tend not to thicken. So you would need to add the flour and cook the sauce on the stovetop.
Make It Healthier
Use lean meat. Use unsalted butter or trans-fat free spread.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients.
Suggested Sides
steamed peas and green salads

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