Monday, December 17, 2012

Stout-Hearted Beef Stew

In my life of cooking stews of all variety over these many years, Sunday's pot of meat, stout and veggies was proclaimed, "The BEST stew you've ever made!" by the hubster.  He's had a lot of experience sampling stews, I can say that!

What made that mixture so wonderful? My guess is it was the stout and beer that made Mark grin from ear to ear...and go back for seconds. Beer does that. 

I was lucky to find Green's gluten-free stout at the local store. Hearty notes of stout added depth and richness and a subtle sweetness, the addition of beer lightened both the intensity of the stout AND the impact of GF stout on my wallet.  $7 for a pint of stout...whew! But it was worth it.   Just ask Mark.

One more little touch added a surprise to the mix. Gingersnaps.  Cookies in stew?  Yes!  German cooks frequently use gingersnaps to add a touch of subtle spice that also thickens while it flavors the dish. You'll find German Sauerbraten takes advantage of these little flavor bombs of if it works well there, why not in stew?  

By the way, Trader Joe makes a terrific gluten-free gingersnap at a very reasonable price. Reasonable enough to make up for the cost of the GF stout? No, but maybe it help balance things out a little...just maybe. 

Stout-Hearted Beef Stew

  • 3 pounds stew beef, cut into large cubes
  • 3 slices bacon, thick sliced, cut into 1/2" lardons
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste - quite liberally

  • 1 pint stout or dark ale, gluten-free to make this gf - I used Green's Gluten-free Stout, you can use their Dubbel Dark Ale, too.
  • 12 ounces beer, gluten-free to make this gf, I used Red Bridge Gluten-free beer
  • 2 large parsnips, peeled,  3/4" dice, parsnips about the size of 3 large carrots each
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled, sliced into 3/4" pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
  • 2 large red potatoes, 3/4" dice, leave skins on - potatoes the size of your fist
  • 2 large Yukon gold potatoes, 3/4"  dice, leave skins on - potatoes the size of your fist
  • 12 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 1 pound pearl onions, frozen - SO much easier than peeling those fresh little suckers!
  • 32 ounces beef broth (be sure it's gluten-free to make this GF)
  • 18 gingersnaps, crushed, gluten-free to make this GF

Fry bacon in the bottom of a large Dutch oven or enameled pot.  Remove bacon & reserve for another use. (Snack time for the cook is perfectly acceptable as another use.)  Add canola oil to pot.

Season beef cubes with salt & pepper liberally.  Add beef to pot in two batches, browning each batch well on all sides.  Remove from pan.

Add the stout to the bottom of the pan and stir up all the browned bits.  Add the beer.  Add all the veggies except the Brussels Sprouts.  Add beef back into the pot and mix well.  Add the beef broth.  Cover, bring to boil, reduce heat to low and simmer about 2 hours until veggies and beef are tender. 

Add Brussels sprouts to pot and crumble the gingersnaps into the pot as well.  Stir well.  Cover and simmer another 15-20 minutes.  The gravy should be thickened and sprouts tender.  Taste, adjust seasoning if necessary and serve!
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