Well, if not actually apocolyptic, at least it has been momentous for most of the country. Rarely have we seen a Winter where people couldn't escape South or West to find some relief. Yet this year, every part of the country seems to have been affected by miserably cold, and often dangerous, weather.
It strikes me that maybe people in some areas of the country, who would never think of making a hardcore beef stew, just might, this year!
So, I am facing subzero weather tonight (again) and here's what's cooking: Beer Beef Stew. Caution-this is rich and intense!
Beer Beef Stew
Saute 4 slices of bacon, sliced into 1/2” strips, in a Dutch Oven, until cooked through.
Add 4 carrots, cut up, 2 stalks of celery diced, 4 small red potatoes, cut up.
Add additional olive oil to saute these vegetables with the bacon, if needed.
Add 1 packet of Lipton's (or equivalent) Beefy Onion or Onion Soup.
Thoroughly mix, heat through, then remove all ingredients to a large bowl.
Next: Toss ¼ cup flour, salt and freshly ground black pepper, with 2 lbs. beef stew meat.(grassfed beef is always preferred!)
Add the stew meat to the Dutch Oven with extra olive oil, if needed and brown the beef cubes on all sides.
Season with 1 tsp. dried Italian Herb blend.
Stir in 1 bottle of beer (your choice, dark or light—I had a bottle of Blue Moon in the refrigerator so that's what went into mine)
Add 1 can (14.5-16 oz) Petite diced tomatoes with the juice.
Add 1 tsp. Gravy Master.
Bring to a boil, stirring everything together, making sure to stir up any crusting on the bottom of your Dutch oven, then reduce heat to simmer. You should be seeing a nice rich gravy.
Add back your bowl of seasoned vegetables and bacon, toss in a couple of fresh Rosemary sprigs, or fresh parsley, if available--cover and simmer about 90 minutes until beef is thoroughly tender. Stir periodically to prevent sticking and make sure that you are cooking on lowest setting with the cover on.
In the last 20 minutes of cooking, add additional green vegetables—I've used ½ cup chopped frozen spinach and 10 oz. frozen green beans, but green peas or other greens are also good ideas.
This is a very rich beef stew so be prepared for a lot of flavors—it might be the one time you think a fresh baguette to accompany dinner sounds like a good idea—and you are burning those carbs and calories with all the snow shoveling, aren't you?