This is the second entry in my Old Yale Series, a collection of recipes that I’ve created featuring beer from Chilliwack’s award-winning Old Yale Brewery. For more information on my partnership with them (disclaimer: this is a sponsored post, but the views expressed are my own), see the introduction to my Beer-Battered Shrimp Po’ Boys.
Should you be so fortunate as to get your hands on a can of Old Yale’s very tasty Old Paddle Pilsner (see the Po’ Boy post for information on where to find it), then you’re in for a treat. I’ve made variations of this stew quite a few times, starting with Jamie Oliver’s basic recipe that called for Guinness (or an alternate stout). It was okay, but when the beer reduces down, the sauce is just a bit too bitter. I then adapted the recipe a bit to make it more my own, including switching up the beer to a brown ale. I was able to get it to something that I quite enjoyed, but it never quite passed the test with my wife. She’d happily eat it, but the response was always shy of a rave review.
It always came down to the beer that was used. The sauce it helped make was always good, but not the sort of taste that you’d write home about. Working with Old Yale’s line-up of beers, I knew I needed to try something different. Instead of making a traditional beef and ale stew, I decided I’d go for something a little lighter by working with the pilsner. The original plan was to try it with the pilsner first, then do a second attempt with either their pale ale or IPA. It suffices to say that I never got that far. You know a stew is good when you polish off your bowl and then go to town on it with fresh bread, trying to soak up the last little bits of sauce. An attempt with a second beer wasn’t necessary; it would have been completely redundant.
I still ended up making the stew twice, tweaking cooking times and amounts of potatoes and beef. Sticking closely to the times I’ve provided will leave you with tender chunks of beef and potatoes that are soft without being mushy. You may notice that in two of the pictures the stew appears a little potato-heavy and a little light on the meat. Those pictures are from my first go-around, but I liked them too much to not just include anyways, along this little warning that “the ratio of meat to potatoes is larger than it may appear”.
Wow, I had no idea I could sound so geeky while talking about a beef and beer stew. On that note, maybe we should just get to the recipe…
Pilsner Beef and Potato Stew
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 3 medium carrots, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 lbs stewing beef
- 1 can (355 ml.) Old Yale Brewing Old Paddle Pilsner
- 1 can (28 oz.) low-sodium diced tomatoes
- 6 nugget potatoes, quartered
- sea salt and pepper
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, add in your olive oil, carrots, celery, onions and garlic. Sweat on low-medium for about 10 minutes, stirring often.
- Add in the flour and stewing beef, giving everything a good stir. Cook for about two minutes, stirring often, until most of the beef has browned slightly on the outside.
- Pour in the Old Yale Pilsner, dump in the tomatoes, then season with 1 tsp. sea salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Give everything a good stir and take a few moments scraping any brown bits off the bottom of the pot (these bits are full of flavour, and you don’t want them to burn onto the bottom).
- Turn up the heat enough to bring everything to a boil, then turn down so it just simmers. Throw a lid on the pot and let simmer away for an hour, stirring once or twice in that time. Alternatively, if you’re working with a Dutch oven or a pot that’s oven-friendly, you can toss it into a preheated oven at 350°F.
- After an hour, toss in the potatoes and give everything a good stir. Continue cooking, covered, for another hour, giving it another stir or two in that time.
- Remove the lid from the pot and cook an additional 1/2 hour longer, during which time the stew’s sauce will reduce and thicken.
- Let sit a few minutes, taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary, then serve with a fresh crusty bread that you can dip in the stew and wipe your bowl clean with afterwards.