Fans of Arrested Development and Carl Weathers will no doubt agree that it’s officially that time of year to get your stew on. The other day, I riffed on Carbonnade a la Flammande—a Belgian beer stew—using a recipe from The Jimtown Store Cookbook for inspiration. Theirs includes bacon for smokiness and parsnips and carrots for sweet depth of flavor. You won’t believe how fantastic the house smells while this bakes in the oven for hours on end.
Stout Beef Stew
Adapted from The Jimtown Store Cookbook
10 ounces slab bacon, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 lbs yellow onions, sliced 1/2-inch thick and separated into rings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 lbs beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
6-8 ounces stout (I used Guinness from a large bottle, and drank the remainder while cooking)
1 cup water
Leafy tops from rib of celery
3 springs fresh thyme
8 whole black peppercorns
5 ounces red pearl onions, blanched and peeled
1 large carrot, chopped
2 parsnips, trimmed, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
Position rack in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add bacon, onions, olive oil. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender and caramelized, and bacon is browned (but not burned), about 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer onions and bacon to bowl.
On a plate, mix together flower, pinch of salt and cracked black pepper. Dredge half the beef cubes in seasoned flour; shake off excess. Cook beef in bacon drippings, turning occasionally until well-browned, about 7 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer to bowl with onions and bacon. Repeat dredging and browning with remaining flour mixture and beef.
Return beef, bacon, onions, and any juices from bowl to casserole and set over medium heat. Add stout and 1 cup of water.
(Yes, I totally need a new manicure.) Wrap up celery leaves, thyme sprigs, bay leaf and peppercorns in a small cheesecloth bundle and tie with string.
Add this to casserole. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover and set in oven. Bake for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.
Stir the pearl onions, carrots and parsnips into stew.
Continue to bake, covered, stirring every 30 minutes until the vegetables and meat are tender, about 3 hours, adding a splash more beer or water if stew is reducing too quickly. We enjoyed this rich, comforting stew over buttered egg noodles. It would also be killer spooned over mashed potatoes. And baby, you got a stew goin’!