Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Beef and Stout Stew with Sweet Potatoes

Beef stew is classic comfort food—in one pot. All it takes are a few simple ingredients and a bit of time…and a bottle of stout to add deliciously rich depth and flavor. Guinness brand is a worldwide favorite, but any smaller, craft brewery stout will be good in your stew. I used New Holland’s “The Poet” oatmeal stout (thus, the raven on the bottle), and it had just the right amount of roasted, chocolaty flavor to pump up the taste of the stew.

I usually go with the traditional trinity of vegetables in beef stew—potatoes, onions, carrots—because it’s a beautiful combination so why mess with it? For this recipe, I added plenty of onions, but substituted sweet potatoes for the russets and carrots. It’s the same potato goodness with the sweetness (and color) of carrots.

Stew Ingredients
Tip: Cook the beef chunks in two batches in order to sear the meat in an uncrowded pan. Lumping all the pieces together will make the beef steam instead of sear, resulting in unappealing gray meat. When the beef is seared, the pan will bear evidence:

For a more traditional recipe, check out Old-Fashioned Slow-Cooker Beef Stew.

Serves 5-6

  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2-1/2 lb beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 12-oz bottle stout
  • 1-1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried red chile flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 small sweet potatoes (about 1-3/4 lbs), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
Beef Chunks
Sweet Potato Pieces
  1. Preheat the oven to 275° F.
  2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. Add half the beef and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Sear undisturbed until well browned on the bottom, 4 minutes. Turn and sear undisturbed 3-4 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate and repeat with 1 more tablespoon of oil and the remaining beef.
Beef Beginning to Sear 
Beef after Turning 
2nd Batch Seared
  1. Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the pot. Add the garlic and onions and cook, stirring frequently, 3 minutes.
  2. Add the stout and cook, scraping up brown bits, 1 minute.
  3. Add the broth, oregano, chile flakes, and bay leaves and season with salt and pepper. Cook 1 minute.
  4. Return the beef to the pot, nestling into the liquid. Cover and place in the oven. Braise 2 hours.
  5. Stir the sweet potatoes into the pot and continue braising until the potatoes are tender and the beef is easily shredded with a fork, 45 minutes longer. Discard the bay leaves.
Garlic and Onions
Stout Added 
Broth Mixture Added
Beef after 2 Hours 
Sweet Potatoes Added 
Cooked Stew
To serve, divide the beef stew among 5-6 shallow bowls and serve hot.

Beef and Stout Stew with Sweet Potatoes

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