I’ve been wanting to post about this for a while and finally, today found the time and the willpower. This time I decided to photograph it instead of eating it before I could grab my camera. Beef stews are quite possibly my all-time favorite thing to cook/eat/stare-at during cold days and I’m documenting this recipe just in time before the hot weather returns to California and ruins one of the greatest winters this state has ever seen. The whole ritual is extremely relaxing and the outcome well… as you know… who doesn’t love a good beef stew. I thought about a sous vide version… but nah… I wanted the comfort factor pretty high.
Ingredients (makes enough for 6-8 people):
2-3 pounds of chuck, brisket, short ribs, something tough. Cubed 1 inch.
1 pint of extra stout Guinness beer
1 can of tomatoes. Crush them with your wooden spoon.
4 celery stalks medium dice
1 whole white onion small dice
2-3 medium carrots medium dice
6-8 garlic cloves, crushed then small dice
3 bay leafs
AP flour to coat and brown the meat.
Salt and pepper t taste.
Tossing meat chunks in flour.
First, prepare the meat. In a bowl with flour, toss the meat and make sure the cubes are fully coated. Heat up a pan with plenty of vegetable oil. When it reaches about 380F start adding the cubes in batches. Allow frying for about 2 mins. You don’t have to brown each cube evenly but that would be ideal. I basically deep fried mine. The flour won’t brown much but the meat will and that’s what we want. You could add a little baking soda to help the flour brown more and develop a more nutty flavor. Remove the cubes from the oil and allow to rest. They will bleed a bit. Don’t discard anything. Everything is going in the pot. Beef blood is gold.
Giving the veggies the special treatment.
In a bottom heavy pan with some vegetable oil, cook the tomatoes over medium heat until nice a dark brown. I added some onions and allowed them to burn a bit. Then deglazed the pan with some stout and scraped off everything. Add the veggies, including the garlic. Add some salt at this point. And sauté for about 10 minutes over medium heat.
Meat and veggie party.
Add the seared cubes and the rest of the stout, now bay leaves and rosemary go in. Bring to a simmer. Cook for 3 hours with no lid. Season as you go. Keep an eye on it and stir every now and then making sure nothing sticking at the bottom. Simmering temperature ranges from 160F at the to around 200F at the bottom. Really low heat. It will reduce to a perfect consistency. The flour gives it that velvety finish. Yeah, that flour you used to coat the meat chunks in the beginning.
What about that mash?
Ok, here we go again… I need to make a mash potato post that I can reference but until then… 4-6 Yukon gold or russet potatoes. Peeled. Cut into cubes. Place in cold water with some salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Cook potatoes until fork tender. Strain. Save the cooking liquid. Mash the taters using a potato ricer or potato masher (never ever use a blender, trust me). Add a few cubes of butter, some heavy cream, salt…etc. Season with salt until happy. Oh yeah… that potato water I mentioned before… if you want a lighter potato mash, you can use some of this starchy water instead of so much cream/butter. Up to you. You could also reduce the starchy water to concentrate the potato flavor before using. Anyways, you get the idea and I need some sleep.