Now that we're pretty well into fall, the evenings are cooler and I'm enjoying soups and stews again. Stew is really one of the only leftovers I enjoy, and it seems to get better with time as the flavors come together.
This stew features pretty standard ingredients, but the beer is special. I used the Josiah Miller IPA from Free State Brewery, where I go about once a week and refill my growler with whatever looks good on tap. Hoppy beers are rumored to be excellent for milk production, so just another round of ammunition for me!
1 slice of thick-cut bacon (1-2 ounces)
1/2 pound stew beef (I used eye round), cut into 1 inch chunks
1 T AP flour
1/2 large yellow union, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup ale
2 cups chicken or beef stock
1 t dried rosemary
2 carrots, sliced into 1/2 inch coins
1 large russet potato, sliced into 1/2 inch chunks
salt and pepper
Cut the bacon into 1/4 inch strips horizontally and put into a dry Dutch oven over medium heat. Allow it to render its fat and become crisp. Pull out onto a plate and leave the fat in the pan.
Put the beef into the Dutch oven in a single layer and let it form a crust (don't mess with it until it releases itself from the pan). Turn it and let it get nice and brown on all sides. When it's all browned up, pull it onto the same plate as the bacon.
Put the onions, garlic and rosemary into the fat and meat juice left in the pan. You may have to lower the heat to keep everything from burning at this point. Let the onions and garlic get really soft - leave them for about ten minutes, stirring sometimes.
Sprinkle in the flour and stir it around. Let it cook for one minute.
Add the beer and broth and use a wooden spoon or whisk to scrape up all the brown stuff on the bottom of the pan.
Once it comes up to a boil, add the potato and carrots and slide the bacon and beef and all the juices on the plate back into the pot. Taste it and add as much salt and pepper as you think it needs. After it boils, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer about half an hour.
This is really a full meal in a bowl. I served it with some of Jeff's favorite rolls. Recipe serves two.
I promise, one of these days I will start taking pictures of my food! I just always eat it all before I remember.