Perhaps my favorite beer of all time is a local chocolate porter, which I love to enjoy with a burger on a Saturday afternoon. It is also fabulous to use as the base of this chunky beef and mushroom stew, so pick your favorite dark beer and make this winter stew next at your next opportunity.
Like any great stew, the keys to success are the same: choose the right meat, brown it thoroughly and take your time. If you are feeling lazy, the mushrooms can be added directly to the stew when you add the carrots and celery – however, by browning them separately you will develop a much richer flavour.
Beef and Porter Stew(serves 4)
Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Pat the stewing beef dry and add to a medium bowl. Sprinkle with a generous amount of salt (1/2 teaspoon) and freshly ground black pepper. Mix well to distribute. Now sprinkle with the flour and repeat. Add the vegetable oil to the skillet and brown the meat well and evenly on all sides. Remove to a heavy dutch oven of sauce pan.
Add the onion to the skillet. Use a wooden spoon to stir and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the carrots, celery and rosemary and continue cooking until the onions start to brown. Add the beer and simmer until reduced by half. Use a wooden spoon to scrape any of the good browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Open your can of tomatoes and add to the pan squeezing the tomatoes to break apart.
Transfer the sauce to the saucepan or dutch oven and bring everything to a simmer. Cover partially and simmer for 1-3 hours or until the meat is tender.
In the meantime you can sauté the mushrooms. Heat a large skillet to medium high heat. Add half of the butter and half of the oil and wait until the butter is melted and the foaming subsides. Add half of the mushrooms with a bit of pepper and sauté until browned. Repeat with the remaining butter, oil and mushrooms. Add the mushrooms to the stew towards the end of cooking the stew.
Mince the parsley and toss in. Allow to cook for 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Serve hot with crusty fresh bread.