Weather in Singapore has been getting colder lately – evidence that the monsoon season is here! I found myself craving for soups and stews for dinner these days but unfortunately I have been working overtime that I didn’t really have the time and chance to go back home for dinner. Hope work will slow down a little when nearing Christmas!
I made this stew last week – I have been wanting to try cooking with beer and finally got around doing so. I got this recipe from Jamie Oliver’s website, one of my favourite chefs. His is originally a beef stew recipe with ale but I changed it to Guinness to see how it will turned out.
Browning the beef is probably the hardest part – the smell of beef sizzling away in the pan is so tempting that I wish I can just eat them straight away! But I know they wouldn’t be good because the part I’m using is the brisket, a cheap, lean meat cut that needs hours of braising in order to have a tender texture. I braised away atop of the stove as my pot is not suitable and too big for the oven – so the cooking time has been reduced by about 1/2.
I have also tried using a parchment paper lid (see the video on how to here – I used this method as well when cutting parchment for round cake tins) instead of the pot lid as I have read that it helps to prevent the liquid from evaporating too much. We love sauces in our food so I don’t want to reduce it so much until it looks like the photo shown in Jamie Oliver’s website. I think that the parchment paper idea does works as most of the surface area had been covered by the parchment paper, so liquid cannot evaporate away so easily. What do you guys think? Have you all tried it before?I heeded the advice of the reviewers and added in a little brown sugar to offset the bitterness of Guinness – I tried the stew before and after adding the sugar and I must say the sugar did help in taking the bitterness off the stew. I’d probably use beef stock instead of Guinness in the future as my mom and my brother weren’t very fond of the hint of bitterness. But! I love how tender the beef brisket is after almost 2 hours of braising – I kept stealing pieces of beef out from the pot to eat for “tasting” purposes… oops!
Here are the step-by-step photos!
|1) Slice the beef into chunks.||2) Season with salt and pepper.|
|3) Brown in oil and resist the temptation.||4) Remove the beef and set aside.|
|5) Cook the vegetables in the yummy oil.||6) Add the beef back in.|
|7) Add in tinned tomatoes.||8) Followed by Guinness!|
|9) Cover with parchment paper lid.||10) Make the roux.|
|11) Add in the roux to thicken the stew.||12) Add in the mushrooms and cook a bit more|
This recipe is for the Aspiring Bakers event that I am hosting – Aspiring Bakers #38: Boozy-licious! Do join me in creating boozy dishes using whichever alcohol you have at home, read more about it HERE!
- 800 grams beef brisket, slice into 1 to 1.5-inch thick cubes
- 2 large onions, peeled and sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into large chunks
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 can chopped tomatoes (434g /15oz)
- 500 ml Guinness, substitute with beef stock if desired (2 cups)
- Scant teaspoon table salt (or 1 teaspoon coarse salt)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 to 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 250 grams mushrooms, halved or quartered
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Heat oil in a large cast iron / heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Rinse and dab dry the beef with kitchen towels. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Once the oil is hot, brown the beef (in batches and adding more oil if necessary) until all sides are browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- (After browning the beef, I found the beef bits were way too charred because I didn't use a good-quality pot. Worried that the stew might have a burnt taste, I reserved the oil, washed and dry the pot, then add the reserved oil - very flavourful now - back in.)
- Without washing the pot, add in the onion, carrots and bay leaves. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes over medium to medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent. Add in the beef, tomatoes, Guinness, scant teaspoon of salt, a few grinds of black pepper and 1 tablespoon sugar. Bring to a boil and cover the top with a parchment paper lid and the pot lid.
- Roux: Combine flour and unsalted butter in a small frying pan over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until a paste forms. Set aside to cool.
- Oven: Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Place the pot of stew in the oven and cook away for 2.5 hours. Stir in the mushrooms and the roux (use enough to thicken the stew, don't have to use all) and cook for another 30 minutes. Taste the stew and add more sugar, salt and pepper if necessary.
- Stove: Simmer the stew for 1.5 hours over low heat, stirring occasionally. Add in the mushrooms and roux (use enough to thicken the stew, don't have to use all) and cook for another 15 minutes. Taste the stew and add more sugar, salt and pepper if necessary.
- Serve over a bed of mashed potatoes.
Super Naggy: I forgot to add in the flour while cooking, so I made a roux by cooking equal parts of flour and butter together until a paste forms then dissolve the roux bit by bit into the stew until I got the desired thickness.