Tag Archives: beer

The Lazy Blogger: Belgian Beef Stew with Mashed Potatoes

27 Feb

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I haven’t exactly been posting much in my dusty corner of the internets. I’d like to say that it is because I am just so super busy I barely have the time to cook for myself, forget teaching the rest of cyberspace.

But that would be a lie. A dirty, dirty lie.

The truth is, I’m lazy. I’m lazy and I’m really picky about the pictures I take, which usually means that by the time I’m cooking anything it is dark outside and my pictures are crap and I don’t want to post them. So, in recognition of this extreme condition, I’ve decided to start a new series of posts, hereby dubbed “The Lazy Blogger”, until I can come up with a better name. If I ever do.

Posts  titled with the “The Lazy Blogger” will be ones with incomplete pictures, often of only the finished product. Hopefully this will shame me into writing more, and eventually doing this right.

So to kick it off we’ve got a lovely recipe for Belgian beef stew. I made this one night for some friends on Geek Movie Night. Yeah, it’s a thing. We were headed off to see The Green Hornet and I was feeling fancy so I offered to cook. I found this recipe in a giant tome known as “The Complete Meat Cookbook”. I had been given this by a friend as a thank you gift for hosting her bridal shower years ago. I was hesitant about trying this because the authors describe it as having a sort of “sweet and sour” taste (and who wants their stew to taste like Chinese food?) but it turned out to be amazing. Also, I love dark beer so this turned out to be a win-win. Beer in my food and beer in my mouth. Yum.

Like most things I make, I think this is crazy-easy. Yes, there are directions you should probably follow, but you’re essentially just throwing a bunch of ingredients into a pot and letting them simmer for a few hours. Nothing easier than that my friend.

Belgian Beef Stew (from The Complete Meat Cookbook)

2 TB olive oil

3 lbs beef chuck, cut into 2-3 in chunks and trimmed of fat (I used beef shoulder london broil and it was amazing. Just make sure you pick something cheap with lots of fat and cartilage).

Salt and pepper

2 lbs onions, halved and thinly sliced

7 carrots, 5 cut into a small dice and 2 cut into large chunks (the dice is added first for flavor, then you add the chunks later in the cooking process).

1/4 lb prosciutto or smoked ham, diced

2 tb chopped garlic

1.5 lbs mushrooms, sliced

1 12 oz bottle of dark beer. I used Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale. Pick something that is dark but not too hoppy.

2 C beef stock

1 tsp dried thyme

3 bay leaves

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Heat the oil over high heat. It helps if you have a dutch oven, but just use the biggest pot you have. You will use the same pot for the whole recipe so you need something pig enough to hold the meat, veggies, and the liquid. Season the meat with salt and pepper and sear it on all sides in the pan, in batches if necessary. You don’t want to crowd the meat or it won’t brown. Remove the meat and set aside.

Put the onions in the pot, cover, and lower the heat to medium. Cook for 10 minutes, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the diced carrots (reserve the chunks!), prosciutto, and garlic. Cook and stir for 5-6 minutes, until the onions begin to brown. Add the mushrooms and cook for  1-2 minutes more.

Put the meat back into the pot and add the beer, stock to cover (you might need a tiny bit more or less), thyme, bay leaves, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook at a low simmer for 1.5 hours, or until the meat is fork tender (meaning you can cut it apart with just a fork).

Remove the meat from the pan and set it aside again. Add the carrot chunks and boil until the carrots are tender and the liquid has a syrupy consistency. You don’t want to boil all of the liquid down, though, so you should watch the pot. Lower the heat if necessary, or add more stock. You still want the liquid to be able to cover most of the ingredients, if that makes sense. Discard the bay leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste.

So, to go with my delicious stew, I made mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes are super-easy. I don’t use a recipe I basically just mash them. I will attempt to describe my method below.

Mashed Potatoes

1-2 lbs potatoes

Milk or cream

Butter

Salt and pepper

Garlic if you want

Cheese if you want

Grab your potatoes. I like to use the little yellow ones, but you can use whatever you want really. I use about a pound of potatoes for 3 people, so just go with that and choose how many you think you need. If you want to, peel them. I only do this when I want the mashed potatoes to be very smooth, or when I am using regular russet potatoes. I don’t think the russet potato skins are very good. For the stew I peeled the potatoes. Then, after you’ve decided if you’re going to peel or not, cut the potatoes into chunks. You should get at least 6-8 potato chunks per potato. Put all of the potato chunks into a pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Boil until you can put a fork through one of the potato chunks without getting any resistance. This usually takes at least 20-30 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and put back into the pot. Add some milk, butter, and salt and pepper, and mash. I have a potato mashed (one of the hand-held ones) and an immersion blender. Usually I use the potato masher to achieve a chunkier consistency, but I wanted these to be very smooth so I used the immersion blender. You don’t need either of these things. If you have done your job right and the potatoes are cooked through you should be able to mash them with a fork. Anyway, so mash them about until you have hit a consistency you like. Add butter and/or milk if needed. Taste and add salt and pepper, maybe some garlic powder, and/or some cheese. I put all of these things in my stew mashed potatoes.

Then, to serve the stew, put a serving of mashed potatoes in a bowl or plate, make a hollow in the center, and scoop some stew into the hollow. Yummmmm.

 

This was so amazing, you don’t even know. The meat was like meat butter it was so tender. So go forth and make yourself some stew! If you’re in New England you need it, seeing as it won’t stop effing snowing here.

❤ Stef

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Recipe: Butterbeer Part 2, Tudor Style!

6 Mar

After months of empty promises, I finally bring you the post you’ve all been waiting for.

Butterbeer, Tudor Style. Yesssss.

The Tudors were an interesting culinary bunch. They ate lots of funny meats (badger, anyone?) and insisted that beaver was a fish so they could get around the “only eat fish on Fridays during Lent” thing. Inventive, or just plain stupid? I  guess that’s just up to you and your level of scientific propriety. They also used a really fascinating device called a trencher – basically a stale piece of bread used as a plate, which was either eaten with sauce or given to the poor upon completion of the meal. You heard that correctly folks, the pious Tudors gave away stale bread that they had ALREADY EATEN ON to the poor. Yum?

I was sent this recipe by a friend about six months ago. He wanted me to make it so that he could drink it, unwilling to try his hand at the recipe himself, perhaps? Either way, it reminded me of a type of butterbeer I had made back in high school when my friends and I were all cracked out on Harry Potter. (Nothing like we are now, of course). (Much…) That recipe used root beer and hot buttered rum mix-probably not very authentic, but super-delicious nonetheless.

I’m not sure if this Tudor style butterbeer is any closer to approximating the kind that Harry and his friends drank at the Three Broomsticks, but it’s entertaining.

2C LIGHT beer (I used a pale ale, and the end result was slightly bitter tasting. I would use a lager or maybe a cream ale next time, something really light, like Boddington’s or even just Miller or Coors).

1/4C sugar

Pinch of nutmeg

2 egg yolks

1TB butter

Put the beer into a large pot on the stove, and heat until the beer becomes steamy and slightly foamy.

Mix together the egg yolks, sugar and nutmeg.

Slowly add about 1/2 C of the hot beer to the sugar-egg mixture, stirring all the time to combine. You are doing this to temper your eggs, slowly cooking them so that they don’t become scrambled when you add them to the hot beer.

Turn off the heat and pour the beer, sugar and egg mix into the large pot of beer and gently whisk. Add the butter and whisk some more.

When it looks like all your ingredients have been successfully combined, pour the butterbeer into a large glass and drink!

A note on the taste.

As I said before, I believe my selection of beer made the resulting butterbeer slightly bitter, which is why I suggest using a really light beer. This is not the time to get all snobby about beer (which is just part of my nature). When you think about it, the Tudors used beer as a water substitute because actual water was literally too dirty (full of SEWAGE) to drink. Beer probably wasn’t all that complex. Suck it up and use MGD.

With that said, Jakey Jake LOVED IT.

Me? Not so much.

This is why I try not to experiment alone! I would make it again using a different beer, though. I think that is where I went wrong.

So, to wrap up.

Butterbeer = weird. Try some!

❤ Stef

Recipe: Butterbeer! Part One.

31 Jul

Earlier in the week, a friend emailed me a link to a recipe for real, Tudor-style butterbeer. Apparently butterbeer is not just the stuff of Harry Potter culinary lore, but a real drink imbibed by real people with a real recipe to boot.

This brought to mind my high school days, when I would make faux butterbeer for my friends using homemade  hot buttered rum mix and root beer. I would warm up the root beer on the stove and whisk in the hot buttered rum mix, and serve to friends dressed in festive hats and robes. We always saw Harry Potter on opening night, and we always dressed in costume (we did the same thing for Lord of the Rings). We were were (and sometimes still are) those kids!

When I discovered the root beer/hot buttered rum mix drink I was ecstatic, because it brought an additional air of authenticity to our festivities. When my friend emailed me the REAL butterbeer recipe, the memories came back and that, coupled with the fact that the newest Harry Potter movie has recently been released, inspired me to devote this blog entirely to butterbeer.

And so begins DinnerLove’s two-week Butterbeer extravaganza! This week I am bringing you the non-alcoholic root beer variety, and next week I’ll feature the tudor-style alcoholic recipe. Woohoo!

Butterbeer

Root beer, at least 16 oz

Hot buttered rum mix:

1/2 stick of butter

1 C brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp ground cloves

Leave the 1/2 stick of butter on the counter for a bit to soften it up. Alternatively, you can soften it in the microwave but I always manage to screw that up somehow and end up with a big liquid mess.

So, all you do is cream your ingredients together. Put the butter, sugar and spices into a bowl and stir until they are all combined.

Use 1 TB mix per 8 oz of root beer. I’m only making enough for one person (this stuff is really sweet!) so I heated 8 oz of root beer. When the root beer is warm and bubbly, add the buttered rum mix.

Whisk the mix into the root beer until it is dissolved. Watch the root beer, it will foam up if you’re not careful!

Pour into a big mug and enjoy!

In my opinion, the non-alcoholic variety is probably more true to the Harry Potter books than the tudor-style alcoholic beer recipe. I know that the drinking age in the UK is 18, but Harry Potter and Co have been drinking butterbeer since they were at least 12 and I seriously doubt that Madame Rosemerta would stand for a gaggle of drunk pre-teens in The Three Broomsticks, especially when they have Voldemort to fight off. Could you imagine? Harry wasn’t exactly an A student when it came to magic. If he were drunk he would have been dead!

Until next week, my fellow muggles. Enjoy!

❤ Stef