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Blue Moon Farmhouse Red Ale Stew

In the first Blue Moon assignment for 2012, I was fortunate enough to receive a package containing the freshest samples of their newest beer – Farmhouse Red Ale. Along with the beer, I got some notes from Keith, the brewmaster himself, on what he would like to see as a theme for the dish. I love when I get such passionate descriptions of the beer as well as an idea for a signature dish. The directions were to make the dish something hardy with a traditional Belgian style theme. So, I did some research and gave a few suggestions. The beer itself has such a wonderful richness and flavor. The brewmaster himself describes it as a malty caramel taste with assertive white pepper and coriander notes. After some research and discussion, I landed on doing a riff on a very classic dish Beef Bourguignon in which the Belgians substitute beer for wine. I took a few techniques from Alice Waters and did this stew in steps. Browning the beef first, removing it, then cooking the bacon, then cooking the aromatics, then finally deglazing it with this wonderful rich beer. The seasonings, some stock, and the veggies went in for a long simmer.

I think one of the best parts about stew and other similar dishes is being able to sop up the liquid with some fresh bread. I made a point on this round to get my favorite bread of all time, the Oatmeal Molasses Wheat Bread from Uncommon Kitchen in Tahoe City. If you are passing through on a ski trip, make sure you get a loaf of this! (note: only baked Monday, Wednesday, and Friday). Once this beer is released, buy extra and make this dish!

Method


Preheat oven to 350* Generously season strips of beef w/ salt & pepper, then coat in flour. In a large oven safe pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil on medium-high. Add the flour-coated beef to the hot pan, but be sure not to crowd the pan, so you will need to work in batches. Set browned meat aside onto a sheet pan. Once all the meat is browned and set aside, add bacon to the pot and cook until beginning to crisp, about 8-10 minutes. Add onions to the pot and begin to scrape up bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook for about 4-5 minutes then add in the Farmhouse Red Ale and continue to get all bits off bottom of the pan. Add in carrots, celery and garlic and cook until liquid has reduced by half. Then add in tomato paste, beef and enough beef stock to cover the beef. Finally, add in your thyme and bay leaves, bring to a simmer then place into a 350* oven. Check the stew at 30 min and add more stock if needed. Cook the stew in the oven for a total of an hour and a half. Serve in bowls with a crusty bread for dipping.