Wednesday, 5 May 2010

The 21st Century Housewife’s© Beef Stew with Beer and Mustard

This is a delicious, warming stew with a nice tang to it.  It's also very economical because it uses cheaper cuts of beef - chuck, braising or stewing steak - which become mouth-wateringly tender with slow cooking.  I use chuck steak most often because I like it best, but any of these cuts work just fine. Unlike many stews that use beer mine calls for lager, not dark ale. You can even use light beer for this recipe if you are watching your weight - the brand I use most often is Coors Light - but ordinary lager works just fine.  I use a 275 to 330 ml bottle of beer here in England, but a standard North American 12 ounce bottle will work just fine.  Don't be concerned about serving this dish to children as all but a trace of the alcohol in this dish will cook right off.

This is a great make ahead meal as it tastes even better re-heated, and it can also be frozen.  Because of this, I often make a double batch so I can cook once, and we get to eat twice!

The quantities below will serve three to four hungry adults.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and finely sliced
1 pound of cubed chuck, braising or stewing steak
(I use chuck most often as I like it best but any of these are fine.)
½ cup flour
3 to 4 carrots, peeled and chopped in chunks (about one inch thick)
1 small bottle beer (preferably at room temperature)
1 to 1½ pints of beef stock (made from a cube is fine)
2 to 3 generous teaspoons Dijon mustard, to taste
1 tablespoon fresh, chopped parsley or a couple of teaspoons of dried
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large casserole that will go from the stove top to the oven (or use a frying pan for the stove top part, and then transfer the mixture to a casserole before putting it in the oven).  Preheat your oven to about 350℉ or 170 to 180℃.

Gently fry the onion over medium heat, stirring often, allowing it to get all golden and tender.  After about ten minutes, coat the beef cubes in flour and add to the pan with the onions.  Brown the meat, stirring frequently, for ten to fifteen minutes to seal it.

Add the beer, mixing it into the beef and onions thoroughly, scraping any bits off the bottom of the pan to mix into the stew.  Add a pint of the stock and the mustard, mixing in thoroughly.  Carefully bring the mixture almost to the boil, stirring constantly so it does not stick.

Tumble in the carrots and stir to coat with the liquid. Cover the casserole and put it in the oven for at least an hour and a half, stirring every half hour.

Remove the casserole from the oven and check the thickness of the gravy.  If it has not thickened up, mix a tablespoon of cornflour with about a two tablespoons of water and stir into the casserole.  If it is too thick, add a bit of the remaining half pint of stock.

Return the casserole to the oven for about fifteen to thirty minutes. Check the stew for seasoning and add some salt and pepper if necessary.  Stir in the parsley.

Serve the stew with rice or mashed potatoes and a green vegetable. You can garnish it with a little more parsley if  desired.

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