by Gay Cook

Makes 5 – 6 servings

The Guinness beef from Britain is renowned around the world so I set out to create a stew made with a dark Canadian beer I discovered at the LCBO, Black Creek Porter and in the Beer Store, Rickard’s Dark Porter brewed with maple syrup. A dark-style beer like the two above or a stout will make a delicious stew. The best cut of stew meat comes from the shoulder – boneless chuck or blade roast. Sadly, packaged stew meat is often a mixture of tough and tender parts of the animal and cause the stew to cook unevenly.

2 lbs (1 kg) boneless beef chuck or blade roast or 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubed stew meat
1/2 cup (125 mL) unbleached flour
1 teaspoon (5 mL) thyme leaves
1 teaspoon (5 mL) cumin
1 teaspoon (5 mL) salt
3 tablespoons (40 mL) vegetable oil
¼ cup (50 mL) butter
2 medium onions, peeled
2 medium carrots, well washed, trimmed
½ pound (250 g) button mushrooms, quarter if mushrooms are large
473 mL bottle Rickard’s Dark or 500 mL bottle Black Creek Porter
2 tablespoons (25 mL) tomato paste (acts as a tenderizer)
½ teaspoon (2 mL) black pepper
Optional garnish: 2 tablespoons (25 mL) chopped parsley

1. Cut the roast into 1-inch (2 cm) pieces; cut away any fat that can be rendered (melted) in a large saucepan. Combine flour, thyme and cumin and toss the meat through the flour mixture. Heat skillet pan on high to medium heat and add any fat from the meat plus half the oil and butter and brown the meat on all sides in batches adding more oil and butter as needed. Transfer meat to a large saucepan.

2. In a food processor, add the onion and carrots and finely chop the vegetables turning pulse action on and off – do not puree. Add to the stew meat. Place same skillet on high heat and add 1 tablespoon (15 mL) oil and sauté the mushrooms on high heat just until mushrooms change colour about 2 minutes and add to meat.

3. Pour the beer into the frying pan, heat until hot and stir in tomato
paste then pour into saucepan. Partially cover saucepan and simmer until meat is tender about 2 1/2 hours.

4. To serve, add a tall island of creamy mashed potatoes in the centre of a wide bowl and surround the base with the beef. If desired, garnish with chopped parsley.

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Photo: copyright Gay Cook 2012