Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Oven Braised Beef and Beer

As soon as my March 2007 issue of Canadian Living arrived in the mail, Kevin insisted that I had to make this recipe. Low and behold, it's one of the most delicious stews I've ever made! Yummy!

If there's anything I've learned over the years of cooking, you only cook with alcohol that you will drink. To be honest, I've never liked beer but in this recipe, it's really very good. You can even buy only 1 can at a time if you wish at the liquor store and often the staff will be happy to help you out. Using beer in this recipe was WELL worth the flavor that was added to the stew. I absolutely recommend it. I experimented with various types of beer and settled on Stella Artois. You decide what works best for you.

2 lb cross rib pot roast, boneless, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 cup diced bacon
2 carrots, sliced
2 onions, diced
2 cloves minced garlic
3 cups button mushrooms, (250 g/8 oz) halved)
1/4 tsp each salt, pepper, and dried thyme
3/4 cup each beer and beef stock (or all beef stock)
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley (optional)

Slow Cooker instructions:

In a skillet, get some oil good and hot, then fry up your beef in batches until it's browned on the outside and has some nice caramelized edges. Transfer beef to your slow cooker.

In the same skillet, fry up your bacon just until it's starting to crisp. Add to the slow cooker.
Drain most of the fat from the skillet. You will need a bit to fry up the carrots, onions, garlic, and mushrooms, thyme, salt, and pepper until the onions are softened, which will take about 3 minutes. Add the beer to the skillet, scraping up all the delicious brown bits off the bottom of the pan.

Add it all to the slow cooker. Top with the beef stock and tomato paste. Stir and then cover and cook on low for about 6 hours or until meat is tender.

Whisk flour with 1/4 cup of cold water, stirring into the cooked stew, then cover and cook on high for about 15 min. or until it thickens up. Top with some freshly chopped parsley. If you happen to have some fresh thyme on hand, it would be delicious chopped up and added instead.

Serves 4.

Delicious with garlic mashed potatoes!

Oven instructions:

Omit the flour. Instead, brown the meat and set it aside, then fry up the bacon, carrots, onions, garlic, mushrooms, salt, pepper, and thyme until the veggies are tender (about 7 minutes).

Stir in the tomato paste, then stir in the beer and beef stock and bring it to a boil, stirring up all those tasty brown bits on the bottom. Add the beef back to the pot, cover, and cook in a 325 F oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours until the beef is tender. I personally don't have a dutch oven to do this in, but I have used a casserole dish and it has worked fine. Sometimes I've added a bit more beer or beef stock if I feel it isn't 'saucy' enough. I love the sauce, so I happily top the beer and beef stock up to about 1 1/4 cup of each rather than 3/4 cup each.
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