Belgian Beef Stew

Thu, Oct 30 • 0

On a cool autumn night, nothing tastes better than a hearty bowl of beef stew.

I made an awesome stew the other night. Not a lot of ingredients. You can cut your prep time by buying stew meat, but the pieces they give you are usually leftovers and trimmings from other cuts, and come in unusual sizes. By cutting your own cubes from a boneless roast, you can control how much fat remains, and you can cut the pieces in more uniform sizes. (Don’t cut off all of the fat from the meat, since it provides flavor.) As for the cooking liquid, I prefer Chimay Trappist Ale. I think it adds just the right flavor without adding too much bitter flavor, but you can obviously use any quality ale you want. You can substitute any vegetables you want, though I think the onions are essential. Cubed turnips work well.

4 lbs. boneless chuck roast
2 large spanish onions
1 large parsnip
2 large carrots
½ cup + 2 tablespoons flour
salt and pepper
fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
6 whole cloves garlic
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 large bottle ale (75 cl)
olive oil
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat your oven to 300°. Meanwhile, cut the roast into proper 1-inch pieces as described above. Season with salt and pepper, and toss in the ½ cup flour to coat. In the bottom of your heaviest dutch oven, brown the meat in small batches with the olive oil, being careful not to crowd the pan, getting a good golden brown crust. Discard the oil between batches if the bottom of the pan is getting too scorched.

Slice the onions, and peel and slice the carrots, parsnip, and garlic, and brown them in the pot, adding a little water to help get the bits off the bottom. Add the tomato paste, and cook that for a few minutes, so it’s spread all throughout the vegetables. Now add the spices, the browned meat, and the bottle of beer, and bring the whole thing up to a rolling boil. Tightly lid, and put it in the oven to braise for 1 or 2 hours, until the beef is very tender, checking occasionally to make sure the liquid hasn’t bubbled away.

Mix the remaining flour and the butter to make a paste — this is called a beurre manié — and stir that in to thicken. Remove the bay leaves, and check for seasoning. You can optionally garnish with lemon zest. Serve over egg noodles or with a crusty loaf of bread.


Chili Experiment #1

Sun, Jan 20 • 0

chilipeppers.jpgSo I tried my hand at making chili today, without a recipe. It turned out pretty well, but I think it could have used a little more heat. Here’s what I did…

First I put a couple of dried chilies into a 350° oven for about 10 minutes. I’d read that this sort of brightens their flavor a bit, and is supposed to add some smoky undertones. Not sure if that happened. I used two kinds Guajillo and Cascabel, a couple toasted and a couple not, with their stems and seeds removed, then ground up in my spice grinder. I also had some ground Allepo chilies, too.

Then I took a large sweet onion and chopped it pretty thoroughly in the food processor, along with an orange bell pepper and three cloves of garlic. I put that in my dutch oven with a little olive oil, and cooked it over medium heat. I cut 2lbs of brisket into 1″ cubes, removing the larger pieces of fat from each piece, and browned them in a cast iron pan. To the onions, I added a whole can of tomato paste, 2T of the chili powder, 1 T of oregano, and 1T of ground cumin, plus some salt and pepper. I let the tomato paste cook a bit, then added the beef and a can of Guinness Stout — (admittedly, not a very mexican touch), plus, 2T of dark chocolate cocoa powder. I stirred all of this together, and let it come to a boil, and then I put in in the 350 oven with the lid on. After about 2 hours, I could smell that the liquid had cooked down quite a bit, so I pulled it out, and let it cool, since I wasn’t going to be eating for awhile.

A couple hours later, I soaked up what grease had floated to the surface with a paper towel, and then put it back on the heat. I was afraid it wouldn’t be substantial enough, and considered making some rice, but ultimately added a can of black beans, rinsed.

Ok. Not exactly authentic. But it tasted pretty good. Next time, I think I’ll skip the Guinness and add some tomato sauce and some water instead. I also think it could have used a bit more heat… though my wife is pretty sensitive to spicy food. We’ll see. What’s your favorite chili recipe?


Grilled Beer Brats

Sun, Dec 23 • 0

Here’s a recipe my brother makes for cookouts. It’s pretty simple, but surprisingly flavorful and a nice change from hamburgers and hot dogs. These go better with a crustier roll than a regular hot dog bun, but those would do in a pinch.

2-3 lbs. bratwurst
2 large onions sliced
1 big bottle of cheap beer
2 bay leaves (optional)

Pierce the wursts with several times with a fork and marinate the wurst in the beer and onions for a couple hours or overnight. Then grill them until done. You can also save the onions from the marinade and fry them up in a pan while you’re cooking the wursts and then serve them on top.


Please note: Cooking Monster is in no way related to the trademarked characters of Muppets, Inc. Co.
Copyright © 2017, Cooking Monster.com • Contact Us