Beer for a Year, month two…

Greetings beer lovers! This months special brew is one of my most favorites, Summit Winter Ale. They describe this beer as being nutty (I’m a little like that) with a roasted malt flavor and hints of coffee, caramel, cocoa and a dash of hop spice–wow, no wonder I am bonkers for it…I love all those things! They say to pair this beer with Stews, (a hint of what we are making with this!) soft or smoked cheeses, ham and heavy roasted meat, and holiday feasts. (oh yeah, there was some of that in December!)

I found a groovy little handout that tells more about Summit Winter Ale, you can download it here.

So, lets get started! We are calling this our Beer-Braised Beef Stew; not real clever, but straight to the point is sometimes better. I can’t take all the credit for this one either, my darling husband did all of the cooking. I just finished it up with some gorgeous buttery chive-mashed potatoes & sautéed asparagus.

You’ll start by trimming up a piece of beef chuck roast, (just like the kind you’d make pot roast or stroganoff out of) we used a piece that was just about 2.5lbs.

We also added sliced carrots, fresh chopped parsley, 3-4 cloves of garlic-crushed, chopped sweet onions & a big handful of baby portabella mushrooms, quartered. You’ll want to get a dutch oven going on high at this point, as you’ll want it screaming hot when you add the meat to it. Cube your meat into roughly 1″ pieces.

Like this….

Mmmmm……I love meat…….sorry, okay, next step, drizzle a bit of olive oil in the bottom of your dutch oven (or really any heavy duty pot will work) get ready for some smokin’ and throw in that meat! We seasoned it once it was in the pan, but you can do it after you get it all cubed up. A good sprinkling of salt & ten or so cracks of pepper will be all you need.

Get a good caramelization on the meat and then start adding the onions. Let that rock for a bit, then add the carrots….then a bit later, the mushrooms. After just another bit, add the parsley & garlic. Once they’ve partied a bit together, and everything is lookin’ all cozy, grab that gorgeous Summit Winter Ale and deglaze that pan baby!

Oh, that smell………yeah, that’s the stuff! Sorry, I get excited about this. We used just about two full bottles of the Summit Winter Ale, but you could do a bit more or a bit less, depending on your taste. At this point, you’ll want to add a couple cups of beef stock, or just as much as you want it be saucy. (make sense? more stock, saucier, less, not so much) Plop on that lid and let er’ buck (as the hubby would say) for a good hour at a slow simmer. Check the meat after that and if its tender enough for you, you are good. If not, carry on a bit longer. Once the meat is tender enough for you, you’ll want to thicken the sauce. The best way to do that, is to make a roux. In a small sauté pan, melt two (+/-) tablespoons of butter. Once the butter is melted, add two (+/-) tablespoons of flour and stir. The key to roux, is to cook the flour in the butter…the longer you do this, the darker & more caramelly (yea, not a word…) the roux will become. For this dish, you don’t need it to be too dark, just cooked-a light brown color. Once you’ve gotten there, add the roux starting with a teaspoon or two and wisk into sauce mixture. Add more to thicken more, but stop when you have the consistency you are after. (thick for a “stew” like dish, less-thick for a “gravy”)

Spoon over fluffy, gorgeous mashed potatoes and enjoy! You could also spoon over buttered egg noodles or maybe even some creamy polenta…YUM!!!

Until next month, (hint, the color of February, matches the color of our next beer…)

Cheers,

Shawn

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