By Farrell May Podgorsek
Modified from a Cooks Illustrated recipe
This is a wonderful stew, very hearty and warming. It is perfect on a cold, winter night. The best beer I have found to use is Trader Joe’s Vintage Ale. Chimay Ale is also very good. Do not make it with a lighter beer. You need that full, rich, sweet flavor that a good dark Belgium style beer has. Cook it low and slow. Grassfed beef adds a wonderful richness and flavor boost to the stew. I like it best over wide egg noodles. My husband prefers mashed potatoes. I also like to boil some thickly sliced carrots in salted water and serve them with the stew. I feel the carrots retain more character when cooked separately and served in the bowl with the stew. Beverage of choice would be the same beer that was used in the stew.
2 1/2 pounds Morris Grassfed Beef – chuck roast or any other stew meat, cut 3/4 inch thick, trimmed of
gristle and fat and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
salt and ground black pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds yellow onions (about 2 medium), halved and sliced about 1/4 inch thick
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
3/4 cup low-sodium beef broth
1 1/2 cups beer (12-ounce bottle or can) Trader Joes Vintage Ale is preferred
1 tsp thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tsp cider vinegar
Heat oven to 250 degrees. Dry beef thoroughly with paper towels, then season generously with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat until beginning to smoke; add about onethird of beef to pot. Cook without moving pieces until well browned, 2 to 3 minutes; using tongs, turn each piece and continue cooking until second side is well browned, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer browned beef to medium bowl. Repeat with additional 2 teaspoons oil and half of remaining beef. (If drippings in bottom of pot are very dark, add about 1/2 cup of above-listed chicken or beef broth and scrape pan bottom with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits; pour liquid into bowl with browned beef, then proceed.) Repeat once more with 2 teaspoons oil and remaining beef.
Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to now-empty Dutch oven; reduce heat to medium-low. Add onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and tomato paste; cook, scraping bottom of pot with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits, until onions have released some moisture, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are lightly browned, 12 to 14 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add flour and stir until onions are evenly coated and flour is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Stir in broths, scraping pan bottom to loosen browned bits; stir in beer, thyme, bay, vinegar, browned beef with any accumulated juices, and salt and pepper to taste. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to full simmer, stirring occasionally; cover partially, then place pot in oven. Cook until fork inserted into beef meets little resistance, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Discard bay. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste and serve.