Tour leaders Michele Boglioni and Enrico Dal Monte were recently doing some reconnaissance for our Bicycling Belgium’s Best Brewery tours and stopped in for some authentic Belgian Beef Stew. They report that it is especially delicious when washed down with a bit of Westlevern beer.
INGREDIENTS FOR 6
2 ½ pounds stew meat, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 tbsp flour
6 tbsp unsalted butter
4 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 bottle (330ml) or 12 oz Belgian beer, or use a dark Chimay, Orval or New Belgium Brewery’s 1554
2-4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
4 bay leaves
2 tbsp red currant jelly (or brown sugar)
1 to2 tbsp cider or red wine vinegar
1. Season the beef cubes with the salt and pepper and coat them with flour. Shake off any excess.
2. Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a non-stick skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the beef cubes and sauté until nicely browned on all sides (you may want to work in batches). Transfer the cubes to a Dutch oven.
3. Add the remaining 1 tbsp butter to the skillet and melt over medium heat. Add the onions and cook stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10-15 minutes. It is important to brown the meat and the onions evenly to give the stew its deep brown color so you may need a higher heat. The trick is to stir the onions just enough to avoid burning, but not so often as to interrupt the browning process. Combine the onions with the meat.
4. Deglaze the skillet with the beer, be sure to scrape the sides so you get all the yummy brown bits. Pour the beer over the meat and onions and bring to a boil. (Don’t be surprised if the mixture foams a lot.) Add the thyme and bay leaves.
5. Simmer, covered, over low heat until the meat is very tender, 1.5 to 2 hours. Stir in the red currant jelly and vinegar; simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Taste and adjust the seasonings and serve.
Recipe adapted from “Everybody eats well in Belgium” by Ruth Van Waerebeek