Beer fills out the flavor of a stew. Unless you want to risk overspicing, the easiest way to flavor a beef stew is adding a can of beer. Make sure you don’t skimp on the other ingredients, though. If you just want beer, just have a beer.
Like any stew, you can play around with the quantities or quality of ingredients. It’s not exactly a science. You’re making a giant bowl full of things, here.
But here’s where to start:
Two pounds of stewing beef, cut into cubes
Two tablespoons of oil, or if you want it to be awesome, use the leftover drippings from cooking bacon
Around ten ounces of beef broth, use a can or make your own
A can or bottle of your favorite beer
Four or five carrots
Four or five potatoes
Five or six onions
Half a teaspoon of black pepper
A quarter teaspoon of ground marjoran
A quarter teaspoon of tarragon
A half teaspoon of basil
A bay leaf
A quarter cup of all-purpose flour
And a quarter cup of water
How to Cook a Beef Stew with Beer
First up, you have to cook your meat. You can’t trust the stewing process to do it for you. Heat your oil, or preferably your bacon drippings, in a large pot. You’re going to use the pot as a frying pan to start.
Toss the beef cubes in once the oil has gotten hot. This is where you can add all your seasonings. Season the beef and cook until it browns.
Image by Nomadic Lass via Flickr
Now add your beer, bay leaf, and your beef broth. Cover the pot and simmer for about ninety minutes.
While you’re waiting, chop your carrots, onions and potatoes. It’s a good idea to keep the pieces fairly large. Just don’t go crazy.
Add your vegetables after the ninety minutes have passed and continue simmering for about thirty to forty minutes longer.
Feel free to add more salt, if you’re into that.
At this point it’s probably not very thick. This is where the flour and water come in.
In a small bowl, combine your quarter cup of flour with a quarter cup of water. Stir it until it’s smooth. Once you smooth it out you can add it to the stew and stir it in. Give it a few more minutes to get hot.
Tips for Making a Good Beef Stew
As an alternative to flour, consider using dried potato flakes (like you get in those weird prepackaged boxes of mashed potatoes.) It will thicken your stew just as effectively, but it’s basically potato.
Remove the bay leaf before serving.
If you’re not a beer drinker, feel free to try using a bit of red wine. Or just no alcoholic beverage at all, like in this more traditional beef stew recipe.
Make some homemade bread to enjoy with your stew. Because that would be amazing.
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