Another winner from The Cookbook Junkie! The original calls for no vegetables except onions. If you like a stew with more variety, you can absolutely add veggies like potatoes, carrots, celery and peas; stir them in before you bring the pot to a boil.
3 lbs stewing beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 T unsalted butter
1 T vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 T all-purpose flour
1 C beef stock
1 ½ C dark beer
1 ½ T dark brown sugar
¼ C red wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or pinch of dried thyme
1-3 C of vegetables (like potatoes, carrots, celery or peas), chopped or sliced as desired (optional)
1 T chopped fresh parsley (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Pat the beef cubes dry with paper towels. Sprinkle well with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 T butter with the oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sauté the meat, a few pieces at a time, until well browned, and transfer to a plate.
Add the remaining butter to the pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Add the onion; cook for 1 minute. Add the garlic; cook 4 minutes longer. Stir in the flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Whisk in the stock, scraping the sides and bottom of the pot. Add the beer, sugar, vinegar, thyme, sautéed meat and any vegetables you'd like to add. Heat to boiling.
Cover and bake in the oven for 1 ½ hours. Let cool. Reheat, covered, on top of stove and sprinkle with parsley before serving (I didn't bother cooling it and then reheating it, and it was absolutely delicious).
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