Since I’m unable to drink beer for the time being, I thought I’d talk about cooking with it!
There are some classic recipes that you can make with beer that I’ll share with you over the coming weeks but today I wanted to start off with a simple and delicious slow-cooker stout beef stew.
When you use beer in cooking, the alcohol is mostly going to cook away and you are left with the flavour of the beer infusing your ingredients and acting as a sauce. In the case of my beef stew, I choose a robust stout with a lot of flavour because I want to keep a lot of those distinct tastes in the finished meal.
For this stew, I’m using a Pothole Filler Imperial Stout from Howe Sound Brewing Company. The beer is an intense stout with lots of cocoa and a hint of burnt malts, and some hop bitterness that sits there at the end. At 9% it’s a bit high ABV for cooking typically, but I’m partial to that slight boozy residual taste that lingers in the stew. If that’s not your thing, you can always pick your favourite stout with a lower ABV. In my experience, a weak-flavoured stout will leave you wondering why you didn’t just drink the beer instead of cooking with it, so pick something that has a robust flavour profile.
I have a small slow cooker so this recipe makes about 3-4 servings. If you need more, just double the recipe but the instructions remain the same.
What you need
All right, the ingredients:
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 3+ cloves of garlic (or more to taste), chopped
- 2 medium carrots, sliced (about 1cm)
- 1 medium russet potato, diced (about 2cm)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2kg of stewing beef, cubed
- 500mL – 750mL of Pothole Filler Stout
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 Bay leaves
- 2 or more sprigs of fresh thyme (or 2 tsp dried)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
How you do it
- Chop and prepare all of your ingredients and set aside. Prepare your slow cooker – I have to oil mine to reduce sticking.
- Add the onions, garlic, carrots, and potato to the slow cooker.
- Over medium-high heat, add the oil and sear the beef in batches. You’re not cooking the beef through, just brown it on all sides – this should only take a few minutes.
- Remove the beef from the pan and put it into the slow cooker.
- Deglaze the hot pan by pouring about ¼ of the stout into the pan and let it come to a boil. Scrape the seared bits of beef off of the pan and pour this liquid into the slow cooker.
- Add the tomato paste and stir to dissolve.
- Add the remaining stout, the bay leaves and the thyme.
- Cook on medium for 6-8 hours.
- If you’re nearing the end of the cooking process and your stew has not thickened sufficiently, mix the flour with equal parts water and add slowly to the stew, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.
- Season with salt and pepper. Serve with your favourite crusty bread or biscuit, and enjoy with the leftover stout! Unless you couldn’t wait and drank it in which case open another bottle.
I hope you enjoy, and let me know how it turns out!