Ah, springtime in the Rockies. That glorious time of year when it’s 60 degrees one day, snowing the next morning, and melting by afternoon. I almost held this recipe back as it’s a hearty recipe and would probably be better shared during the cold, dark, can’t-curl-up-without-a-blanket days of winter. But it’s too good not to share, which is to say that I lack the restraint to wait another six months before posting this recipe. To be fair, it’s likely we will have at least one more snow here before spring decides to stay. It’s still quite cool in the mountains, with the last of spring skiing just finished; it’s supposed to be chilly and rainy on Monday, so conditions still warrant a hearty, warm meal.
The rich, meaty flavor of the stew is accented by the roasted, dark stout. I originally made this for St. Patrick’s Day (remember the Guinness ice cream pie?) but wanted to make a few small tweaks. I added a bit of coffee, to deepen the flavor, and tweaked the cooking time a bit. I personally like the carrots unpeeled, but modify as you like. You can add or subtract ingredients as the mood (or crisper) dictates. For a vegetarian version, scrap the beef and bulk up the stew with parsnips and more mushrooms. The bonus for you veg-heads is that it doesn’t take as long to cook and prepare.
This dinner actually freezes pretty well. You can serve it topped with mashed potatoes (a la Shepherd’s Pie), over grilled polenta, or with chopped potatoes added in. If you want to forgo the potatoes, I’d suggest a loaf of dense bread to sop up the leftover sauce.
Beef & Stout Stew
2 tbsp oil
2 lbs. beef chuck, cubed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Salt & Pepper
2 sprigs rosemary
1 spring thyme
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 lbs. mushrooms, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 bottle Guinness (or other stout)
1 tbsp black coffee, strongly brewed
Directions: In large, heavy bottomed pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Season flour with salt and pepper. Pat beef cubes dry, then gently dredge in flour. In batches, brown meat on all sides – be careful not to overcrowd the pan. Remove all meat, add 1/2 cup beef stock and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Add finely chopped onion, garlic, herbs, and return meat to pan. Cover meat with stock. Simmer with stock and cover with lid. Simmer 2 hours on low/medium low.
Add all remaining ingredients, except Guinness. Return to boil. Add Guinness and reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, 1 hour – stirring occasionally.
For a nice touch, garnish with chopped parsley.