Sunday, January 4, 2015

Belgian beef stew

New Year's Eve was wild at our house. I'm talking mayhem. If you can define mayhem as eating and playing board games, which in my house we do. Our plan for New Year's consisted of making a 3 course meal and pairing each course with a different drink. This is how we have fun.

Although in the midst of a rowdy game of monopoly, I did ask Blake if we were doing a disservice to our twenties. Shouldn't we be downtown partying with the other young whipper snappers?
Immediately we both answered no. Let the youngins have their fun, while we have ours. We even made it to midnight, which I counted as a success.

The first course of our dinner was a sundried tomato caesar salad from my new Date Night In cookbook by Ashley Rodriquez. This cookbook is wonderful. It includes menus for fun date night in occasions. The salad was so good. We paired it with a riff on a French 75 cocktail. Ours included prosecco, gin, grapefruit juice, and St.Germain's. The main course was the Belgian beef stew I'm sharing with you today paired with False Summit, a Belgian quad beer. Finally, riesling poached pears for dessert paired with a dessert wine.

We spread the meal out through the evening, cooked together, talked, and ate. It was one of my favorite New Year's Eves on file. The Belgian beef stew I'm sharing with you here was the highlight. Beef, onion, garlic, Belgian beer, mustard, brown sugar, spices, and vinegar all simmer on the stove together for 3 hours. The result is tender meat in a thick, deeply flavored, dark Belgian beer sauce. We served the stew with oven baked fries splashed with a little vinegar and dunked in mayo. Pretty amazing. Perfect for winter. Perfect for celebrating.

Belgian beef stew
Serves 4, adapted slightly from Date Night In
1 1/2 pounds beef chuck or well marbled cut of beef, cut into 1" cubes
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups dark Belgian beer (we used a dubbel)
2 dried bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon thyme
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard

Sprinkle beef with 1 teaspoon of the salt and pepper.

Add butter and oil to a dutch oven over high heat. Once hot, add beef and brown on both sides, 2-3 minutes a side. Remove and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium and add onion and garlic to dutch oven. Sprinkle last 1/2 teaspoons of salt over onion and garlic and stir. Cook for 10 minutes until onion are golden, stirring occasionally.

Add meat back to the pot and add beer, herbs, red wine vinegar, brown sugar, and dijon. Bring to a simmer over low heat. Cover leaving the lid a little ajar to vent. Cook on the stove top 2 1/2-3 hours until stew is thick and meat tender.

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