When you think of stew, do you think of cold weather? More importantly, do you think of beer? Haha. Well you should if you don’t!
This stew is the bee’s knees (what does that even mean?). I will admit that prior to this recipe, I wasn’t the biggest fan of stew. Andrew changed that with this recipe. What kind of a stew wouldn’t be good that’s simmered with an entire 22oz bottle of beer? Better yet, a SMOKED PORTER?
Ohhhh yeah…this dish may not be much to look at, but it completely changed my mind about stew! It is simmered for about 3 hours, and in that time, the smoked flavors from the beer meld with the veggies and beef in perfect harmony. While writing this post, Andrew told me that the original version of this recipe actually only calls for a porter, not necessarily a smoked porter. Which means my fiance is a genius for using the Alaskan Smoked Porter. In contrast to a regular porter, the smoked porter adds a deeper flavor; an extra meatiness, a heartiness that actually gives the stew substance. Its not just meat and potatoes anymore, its a smoky, peppery meal that gets better with every bite (and even better the day after–if you have any leftovers).
Alaskan Smoked Porter is a seasonal release from the Alaskan Brewing Company (you guessed it…in Alaska!). Every year they bottle the beer, they mark the vintage on it–when breweries display the year like this, it usually means the beer is meant for aging (or just ages well. Drink that beer as soon as you want). Being a beer with a lot of powerful smokiness, the porter ages well. Holding a bottle for a few years will mellow those flavors out and create a different drinking experience than just drinking it as soon as it becomes available. If you’ve never had smoked beer, it kind of tastes the way it sounds…smokey. But don’t worry, it doesn’t straight up taste like a campfire. Its a meaty beer with flavors of black pepper, chocolate, and bacon. There’s a hidden sweetness in the beer too, kind of reminiscent of maple syrup. Just think about what these flavors do to the stew!
If you want to try this beer with something other than this stew, it pairs excellently with other meals with strong flavors. Think grilled or smoked meats or anything with bacon–the smokiness in the beer will just add to the smokiness of those foods. If you’re afraid to try a smoked beer, then cooking with it is a great option since it will cook down and mellow out. There are other beer options to pair with this stew as well if you really don’t like the sound of a smoked porter. Andrew opened up a belgian dubbel with it on our “leftovers” night. It was sweeter and fruitier than the smoked ale, which contrasted with the flavors in the dish in a good way.
- 2½ pounds beef for stewing
- 1 22oz bottle of Alaskan Smoked Porter (or 2 12oz bottles of any other porter beer)
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 8 oz water
- 2 cans beef broth
- 1 8oz can tomato paste
- ¼ Cup flour
- 3 stalks of celery, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 4 red potatoes, chopped
- 2 Tbsp salt
- 2 Tbsp pepper
- Heat oil and butter in a large stew pot. When hot, sear the stew meat on all sides until brown.
- Remove meat from pot (leave butter, oil and drippings). Add the onion and cook until caramelized. Mix in the flour.
- Add the beef broth, beer, tomato paste, 8 oz of water, salt and pepper and return the beef to the pot. Stir well and bring to a boil.
- Simmer the stew for three hours.
- When the meat is tender after 3 hours, add the celery, carrots and potatoes. Simmer an additional 1½ hours. Add salt and pepper to taste if desired.