Nothing is more comforting than a bowl of steaming hot stew on a cold winter’s evening. With that in mind, I headed off to Farm Boy grocery to get some organic beef but they were all out. Also in the cooler was a section with Red Deer meat, which was also on sale. Bonus! I decided to use the venison in the Belgian beef and beer stew I was wanting to try. Then it was off to the LCBO (liquor store) to get some dark beer for the stock. The employee at the store suggested I use Guinness. I thought it might be a little too flavourful for cooking but it turned out great! The recipe suggests to leave out the vegetables but I wanted to add a little more nutrition so I added some peas and carrots and served it over potatoes. I forgot to try the Dijon mustard on top but that sounds really good!
Belgian Beef and Beer Stew
Adapted from: How to Cook Everything, by Mark Bittman
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn, or extra virgin olive oil
- 2 to 2½ pounds venison or boneless beef chuck or round, trimmed of surface fat and cut into 1‐ to 1½‐inch cubes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large or 3 medium onions, cut into eighths
- 1½ cups good dark beer
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 4 medium to large waxy or all‐purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 1‐inch chunks (optional)
- Chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish
- Heat a large pot with a lid or a Dutch oven over medium‐high heat for 2 or 3 minutes; add the oil. Add the meat to the skillet a few pieces at a time, turning to brown well on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Do not crowd or the cubes will not brown properly; cook in batches if necessary. Sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper as it cooks.
- When the meat is brown, remove it with a slotted spoon. Pour or spoon off most of the fat and turn the heat down to medium. Add the onions. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the stock, bay leaf, thyme, and meat and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and cover. Cook for 60-90 minutes, until the meat is tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning. (At this point, you may remove the meat and vegetables with a slotted spoon and refrigerate them and the stock separately. Skim the fat from the stock before combining it with the meat and vegetables, reheating, and proceeding with the recipe from this point.)
- If it’s too soupy, remove the cover and raise the heat to high.Garnish with parsley and serve. This is good finished with a tablespoon of Dijon mustard and served over buttered noodles or with plain boiled potatoes.