Wow, this is a good one. This is the best stew I’ve ever had or made. Belgian beer is the key. What’s even better is that it’s uncomplicated, reasonably quick to make and hard to screw up.
I got this recipe from a foodie couple that I haven’t seen in too long, and I had actually lost it due to a hard drive issue. I pinged them just recently to resend the recipe, and they kindly obliged. Granted, there are similar recipes on the web, but sometimes it’s best to go with what you know.
What you’ll need:
- 1.25 good stew meat, cubed—from a good cut will yield better results
- 3T all-purpose flour
- 2T butter
- 2T vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves smashed
- 11.5 oz dark Belgian beer
- Bouquet garni (tie together some flat-leaf parsley, fresh thyme and dried bay leaves)
- 2T red wine vinegar
- 2T light brown sugar
- 2 slices of rustic bread
- 2T Dijon mustard
- Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper
What to do:
Season the beef with salt and pepper, and coat with flour. An easy way to do this is to put the flour and beef in a sealed freezer bag and shake until the meat is coated.
In a large heavy pan with a tight-fitting lid, heat the oil and melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the beef in batches and try to brown the pieces on all sides. As they become browned, remove the pieces from the pan and put them on a plate.
When all the beef is browned, add the chopped onion to the pan, and cook it in the remaining butter/oil until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes more.
Return the meat to the pan and stir well to mix up the meat and onions.
Pour in the beer and heat it to just under the boiling point. Add the bouquet Garni, vinegar and brown sugar, stirring in the latter two ingredients. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover the pan, and simmer for about 1-1.25 hours, until the meat is tender.
When the meat is tender, spread the Dijon mustard on the two pieces of bread and put the bread in the pan, mustard-side down. Replace the lid and simmer for 20-30 more minutes, stirring occasionally. At this point, the bread will break down and dissolve into the stew, thickening it. I used a very dense rustic bread, which I think thickened the sauce a little too much. That’s why it looks so pasty in the photos.
When the bread is all dissolved and mixed in, remove the bouquet garni and add the parsley (I skipped this). Add salt and pepper, to taste, then serve.
Goes well with buttered rustic bread, fries, or mashed potatoes.