Monday, March 24, 2008

"Pass The Beer, Grandma" Beef Stew

Okay, better explain the title. Farmwife and I share a grandmother who is known as a tea-totaller to the max. At Cardinal/Cubs baseball games in St. Louis, she would refuse to pass the cups of beer down the aisle, and it would have to go over her. She's a hoot that way. (Can't wait until she comes to my house and I feed her food with alcohol based sauces. Hee hee.) Anyway, I found a couple of beef stew recipes in Real Simple's cookbook, and decided to combine them and modify them according to my pantry and refrigerator contents. Here's what came about. Just so you know, Henry David loved it and had two big bowls.

Olive Oil
Kosher Salt (about 1 T.)
Black Pepper (however much you want)
3 T. Brown Sugar
1 T. Dried Thyme
1-2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary, leaves roughly chopped
3-4 Garlic Cloves, diced
2 Yellow Onions, chopped in bigger pieces
6 Small Yukon Gold Potatoes, quartered (peel if desired)
2 Carrots, peeled and sliced in ovals
1-2 Parsnips, peeled, woody core removed, and cut into 1" pieces
28 oz. Can of Diced Tomatoes not drained
2 lbs. Stew Beef, chopped in bite-sized pieces
1 Can of Beer (any kind will do....I had leftover Budweiser from my slug killing days, which is what I'm sure you just wanted to know during a cooking session)
16 oz. Water

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a Dutch Oven, brown beef stew pieces in a bit of olive oil over medium heat on the stove top. There is no need to dredge in flour. Remove when browned and put on plate to use later.

2. Add onions and garlic to the Dutch Oven, using more olive oil if needed. Saute until softened and partially carmelized, about five minutes.

3. Add beef stew pieces back to the Dutch Oven with the onions and garlic. Add in the can of tomatoes, liquid included. Add in the carrots, parsnips, and potatoes. Add about 16 ounces of water, the can of beer, the brown sugar, thyme, rosemary, black pepper, and kosher salt. Stir well over medium heat for a few minutes until nicely simmering.

4. Cover and put in oven for about two hours, taking it out every 30 minutes or so to stir. The last 15 minutes, put the Dutch Oven lid partially ajar. It's ready when everything is tender. It smells wonderful and tastes incredible. No one will ever guess you used water and not beef stock. I think the secret is the beer and the brown sugar.

***This makes about six cereal bowl sized servings.

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