Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Beef Stew with Beer and Paprika

Our last day of Christmas vacation - which by the way got extended by 2 snow days and was thus a full gorgeous 2 weeks - a bunch of the Compounders decided to go play ice hockey.  They all trekked down early, and Mom, Rachael and I drove down to watch (hey give me credit for hiking home in the snow... I was exhausted).  I thought it was a perfect day to cook up something warming and hearty.  My mom had been asking for a beef stew lately... well, you know me and meat, but even I have been known to eat a beef stew (especially Gram's!) every now and then (mostly picking around the beef).   I also figured this would be a minimal-meat-touching meal.  I decided to get the Pioneer Woman's recipe; she really knows her stuff when it comes to comfort food.  I have a new respect for her amazingness.  More of her recipes coming soon.

It was pretty funny telling my family that we were having stew for dinner.  They all tried to guess what strange type of stew I would be making: lentil?  Quinoa?  I got to say, "no, beef," and watch them all burst into grins.

Browning the beef wasn't pleasant, but it wasn't too bad either.  Then you cook the onions and garlic in the same pan, add some water and beef bouillon, and flavor it with all sorts of interesting things like worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, beer (a whole can!), paprika, and even a little sugar.  Carrots and potatoes round out the stew. It simmers for 2 hours, getting all rich and thick and far more complex-tasting than you'd expect.

The end result?  Everyone loved it. My mom said it was the best beef stew ever!  Besides the fact that my family kept yelling that they "loved the meat,"they all agreed the broth was really excellent too.  I wouldn't have minded a bunch of other vegetables, but the carrots and potatoes were delicious in there anyway.  All the leftovers were gone by the next day, and in fact I have already been begged to make this again so many times that I bought the ingredients yesterday.  More beef stew is in our future.


beef stew with beer and paprika
from The Pioneer Woman


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 pounds stew meat
1 whole medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 12-ounce can beer
4 cups beef stock (or 4 cups water and 4 beef bouillon cubes)
2 cups water (additional, if needed)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 whole carrots, washed, unpeeled, and roughly sliced (I peeled mine)
4 whole new potatoes, quartered
minced parsley (optional)


1) Heat oil and butter in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Brown meat in two batches, setting aside on a plate when brown.  Cut pieces in half.  Set aside.

2) Add diced onions to the pot/  Stir and cook for 2 or 3 minutes until softened, then add garlic for another minute.  Pour in beer and beef tock, then add Worcestershire, tomato paste, paprika, salt, pepper, and sugar.  Add beef back to the pot.  Stir to combine.  Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  The liquid should cook down to a thicker state.  If it gets too thick or reduces too much, add additional water as needed.

3)  Add carrots and potatoes, then cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes.  If stew gets dry, just add a cup of hot water to replenish the liquid - I did not have to).  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

4) Serve in bowls next to crusty French bread.  Sprinkle with minced parsley, if desired.

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