There is nothing like a bowl of hearty stew or soup with a delicious piece of bread on a cool fall day...well, maybe pumpkin doughnuts and a cappuccino come close! But I'm talkin' dinner here, so the doughnuts and coffee will have to wait until morning, unless you think like Danny Devito who once said, "You don't have to be hungry to eat a doughnut!" But I digress...back to stew.
I love a meal that can be prepared ahead of time and heated up when dinner time rolls around. In the case of many soups and stews, the flavor is actually enhanced by sitting for a while before serving, so it's wonderful to put it together in the morning and know that dinner is pretty much taken care of...sweet relief!
My husband is an archery hunter and had a successful season this fall. Our freezer is full of elk...delicious and lean, with almost no "wild" taste...and hey, no growth hormones to worry about! I like to use the less tender cuts in stew or soups and this recipe is perfect for that. If you have no hunters in your family, beef round or chuck steak works well also. This beef stew recipe has a secret ingredient that gives it lots of flavor. Any guesses?
The secret ingredient is.....Beer! Yep, it works wonders in this stew. But a note of caution, do not use a light beer or even a cheap beer...a good ale works best. Now, I am not a beer drinker, so I just ask someone at the market to recommend one (or I ask my son :). The other stew flavor enhancers are the spices and beef bouillon (I use a spoonful of Better than Bouillon Beef Base from Costco).
Are you salivating yet? Here comes the recipe:
Best Beef Stew
2 lbs. boneless chuck, round, or tip steak, cut in 1" pieces
3 T. Olive oil
1 bottle good beer
1 T. Beef Bouillon base or instant beef bouillon
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp. marjoram
1/8 tsp. thyme
1/8 tsp. dried basil
6 carrots, cut in 1" pieces
3 potatoes, cut in 1" pieces (or use red baby potatoes...not peeling!)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup cold water and 1/4 cup flour to thicken
Brown the meat about 8 minutes in olive oil. Pour beer and water to make 2 cups over the meat. Add spices and bouillon and heat to boiling. Add veggies. Cook until tender, about 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours. Optional: Thicken with water/flour mixture at end.
I rarely thicken this stew. Most of the liquid from the beer and water cooks down so thickening is not necessary, in my book. In fact, I often add a little more beer or beef stock at the end to give it a little more liquid!
I hope you give this beef stew a try. I know I've said this before, but you will NOT regret it...I promise! Serve the stew with a warm slice of crusty bread or toasted Dave's Good Seed bread...one of our favorites. The rains have come to the Seattle area, but we can stay warm and cozy hunched over a bowl of this tasty stew. I so appreciate those of you who share my blog posts with others...thank you! I will be posting this recipe on Pinterest as well. Happy Friday, dear friends.