Monday, February 16, 2009

Beef and Ale Stew

I love to cook beef chuck in my slow cooker. After several hours with the low, moist heat, it is fall-apart tender and extremely flavorful.

  • 3 pounds of beef chuck roast or stew meat, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup sliced carrots (about 1/4 inch thick)
  • 1 medium bell pepper, sliced into thin strips 1-2 inches long
  • 12 ounces beer or ale (regular or non-alcoholic)
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 packet Italian dressing seasoning (.7 ounces)
  • 2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1 pound mashed potatoes (if making homemade, don't use too much milk or cream - they need to be somewhat thick and hearty)

Toss beef with oil and salt in a mixing bowl. Heat a large skillet or fry pan over high heat. Working in batches (so as not to crowd the pan), sear the beef so it is brown on the outside (there may some smoke from the high heat, so open a window or turn on the vent). As each batch browns, place the beef in the (turned-off) slow cooker.

When the last of the beef is browned, reduce heat to medium and deglaze the pan with beer. Add tomato paste, bouillon, seasoning packet, Worcestershire, pepper, and sugar and whisk to combine, scraping all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.

Add the vegetables and sauce to the beef in the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover and turn slow cooker to high. Cook for 4 hours and serve over mashed potatoes.

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