Big Guy participated in the U-DA-MAN fishing tournament yesterday which meant dinner plans had to be flexible. I had no clue when he'd be home or what shape he'd be in for that matter. I'm also learning that Mother Nature and Lady Luck are rather fickle and a smart woman plans something other than fish for dinner although it just so happens Big Guy managed to catch a lovely chinook salmon when the other 2 guys in the boat were skunked. He swears it's because of his lucky fishin' outfit. I figure if he keeps up with the braggin' and swagger, he's gonna' be fishin' all by his lonesome pretty soon.
Anyway, a stew seemed like the perfect dinner solution. This one comes from A Reader's Digest cookbook appropriately enough named "Just One Pot" and includes chunked up beef chuck roast seasoned with basil, rosemary, sage and tarragon and braised in a mixture of beef stock and beer. Of course I made my usual changes and switched the stock with beef consomme because I love the added flavor it brings to the party and used a milder beer because it was all we had on hand. Next time, I'll use an amber or a darker stout for more flavor.
After the beef had ruminated for a while in the oven and was almost tender, I added chunked up carrots, potatoes, turnip and a fistful or two of whole brussels sprouts to the mix and let it simmer for another 40 minutes. Topped off with homemade buttermilk biscuits, dinner was ready.
I bet you're wondering what makes this pot of hearty fare different than most stews and I'd have to say definitely the mix of herbs. I never would have thought to add the subtle licorice flavor of tarragon and sweet basil to a beef stew, but combined with rosemary and sage, it really is something special. Add lots of coarse ground black pepper to the mix and it all goes very well with a slew of root veggies. Incidentally, if you're not a turnip or brussels sprout fan, just leave 'em out. No biggie!
Beef Stew with Herbs and Beer from JBug’s Kitchen Antics adapted from Just One Pot Cookbook
2.5 pounds beef chuck roast, cut into 1 inch chunks
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt and coarse ground black pepper
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 a 12 ounce package frozen pearl onions
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 bay leaf
2 10 ounce cans beef consommé
1 – 12 ounce can beer or stout
4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
4 medium red potatoes, peeled and diced
1 small rutabaga, peeled and diced (optional)
10 brussels sprouts, cleaned and left whole (optional)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour mixed with 1/3 cup water
Preheat oven to 350. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over high heat. Season beef chunks well with salt and pepper and dust with flour, shaking off excess. Brown in batches on all sides, removing from pot when finished. Add diced onions and pearl onions to the pot and cook until starting to soften. Return meat the pot along with basil, tarragon, rosemary, sage and bay leaf. Stir well to incorporate. Add consommé and beer. Heat to boiling, then cover pot and place into oven for 1-1/2 hours or until beef is almost tender. Add vegetables to the pot, cover and continue to cook for 30 to 40 minutes, or until veggies are tender. Remove from oven and place over low heat. Mix together flour and water and add to stew and continue cooking until stew is slightly thickened. Remove bay leaf and discard. Serves 4 to 6.
A year ago - Beef, Beer and Stilton Burger
Two year's ago - Oven Roasted Pulled Pork
Three year's ago - BBQ Beans