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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Dorie Greenspan’s Belgian Beef and Beer Stew

Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post


Because Dorie Greenspan likes playing the sweet-sour card, she upped its punch in this onion-packed stew by adding mustard and tomato paste, allspice, cloves and more thyme and bay leaves than a French cook might. Seasoned like this, the stew has it all: it’s sweet, sour, (just a little) bitter (from the ale), salty and packed with umami. Traditional recipes don't call for added vegetables, but feel free to toss in some roasted squash or Brussels sprouts, if you like.

Serve with wide noodles, buttered or not.

Make Ahead: The stew can be refrigerated, covered, up to 2 days in advance; reheat over low heat. It can be frozen for up to 1 month.

Tested size: 6 servings


1/4 cup flour
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 pounds chuck or other stew beef, cut into 2-inch cubes, patted dry
3 tablespoons flavorless oil, such as canola, or more as needed
6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic (green germ removed), finely chopped
One 12-ounce/336ml bottle Belgian, abbey or brown ale or beer, such as Chimay
1 1/2 cups no-salt-added beef broth
2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar (light or dark)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
1 tablespoon tomato paste or concentrate
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
Pinch ground cloves
4 sprigs thyme
3 bay leaves
2 cups cubed, roasted vegetables, or as much as you like (optional)
1/4 cup chopped parsley, dill, chives, tarragon or mixed herbs, for serving


Put the flour in a mixing bowl, season generously with salt and pepper and drop in the beef; toss to coat.

Pour 2 tablespoons of the oil into a 4-to-5-quart Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add as many beef cubes as you can without crowding them, first shaking off excess flour. The beef will steam, not brown, if the pan is too full; cook, seasoning each batch with salt and pepper, until browned on all sides. The pieces should release easily from the bottom of the pot. As the meat is browned, transfer it to a separate bowl. If you need more oil to finish browning the batches, add it as needed. Reserve any leftover flour. If the oil in the pot has burned, wipe out the pot, leaving whatever solids (browned bits) have stuck to the bottom of the pot.

Toss the bacon into the pot and cook, stirring, until it has browned and its fat has rendered; transfer to the bowl with the beef.

Add the butter to the pot along with the onions and garlic. Season lightly with salt and pepper; reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are caramel-colored. Be patient -- this can take at least 30 minutes. If you had leftover flour, stir it into the caramelized onions and cook for 2 minutes, until it browns and loses its raw-flour taste.

While the onions are caramelizing, preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Spoon the meat, bacon and whatever juices may have accumulated in the bowl back into the Dutch oven. Add the ale or beer, the broth, sugar, vinegar, mustard, tomato paste, allspice, cloves, thyme and bay leaves; increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Taste for salt and pepper, adding more as needed. Cover the pot tightly with aluminum foil, then with its lid, and slide it into the oven. Cook (middle rack) for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the meat is tender enough to cut with a spoon. Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaves.

When you’re ready to serve, stir in the roasted vegetables, if using, then sprinkle the stew with the chopped herbs.

Rating ****[5]


From cookbook author Dorie Greenspan.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

Nutritional Facts
Calories per serving: 500
% Daily Values*
Total Fat: 25g 38%
Saturated Fat: 9g 45%
Cholesterol: 140mg 47%
Sodium: 600mg 25%
Total Carbohydrates: 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber: 2g 8%
Sugar: 9g
Protein: 47g

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