Friday, January 29, 2010

Weekends with Julia ~ Beef and Onions braised in beer

Carbonnades a la Flamade

(Beef and Onions Braised in Beer)

This last week I decided for our Weekends with Julia experiment that I wanted some comfort food (Big surprise, huh?. If given the choice of comfort food vs. dessert. Dessert doesn't have a chance with me).

Comfort food that includes beer as an ingredient is just an added bonus. This was a slightly tedious but relatively easy recipe and really good, if not better the second or third day. I found that the slightly bitter beer flavor was a little too strong on the day it was put together but mellowed out after a day or so in the fridge.

I made relatively few modifications so I will give you the recipe and give most of the credit to Julia. If you can read and follow directions, you can make this recipe. As always I think that if get inspired to put your own stamp on it, don't be afraid. I could have seen carrots or mushrooms in this dish very easily. I think next time I will give carrots a go.

One more thing... This is a great one pot dish (that was my major difference with Julia's recipe) as long as the pot can be used on stove top as well as oven.

3lbs of chuck roast cut in to 2 in cubes

3tbls rendered bacon fat

1 stove top dutch oven (a nice Le Creuset comes to mind ;)

Brown the meat on medium high heat... Take as long as you need and do in multiple batches to get a good brown because the browning is what makes it taste good. As each batch finishes put it in a large bowl or plate with a rim. All of the juices that collect will be used later in the recipe so try to collect as much as possible. :)

6cups of sliced onions

4cloves of garlic - diced



Preheat the oven to 325.

Cut the onions in half and remove the dry skin and slice. When the last of the meat has been browned, remove and place the onions in the same pot and allow the onions to sweat. The liquid from the onions will allow you to scrape some bits from the bottom. After the onions have had a chance to brown (about 10 mins), make a little open space in the middle of the pot and let the garlic cook for about a minute. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the pot.

1 cup Beef Broth

3 cups light beer (Pilsner)

2tbls brown sugar

Herb bouquet (bay leaf, thyme, oregano, and whatever you have fresh and/or like)

Heat the pot to high and add the beef broth, beer, and brown sugar (say that fast 3 times) and scrap up as much 'stuff' as you can. Add back into the pot half of the beef. Add half of the onions and then repeat the layers one more time. Cover the pot and put in the lower half of the preheated oven for 2.5 hours.

1 1/2 Tbls Cornstarch

2Tbls Wine Vinegar

Just before the roast is ready to come out of the oven make a 'roux' with the cornstarch and wine vinegar (ie. mix them together to a light paste). Take the pot out of the oven, place on the stove and heat on high heat. Whisk in the cornstarch and vinegar mixture and bring to a boil. Boil for about 2mins whisking/stirring constantly.

Turn off the heat as the sauce begins to thicken and let rest until time for dinner or lunch or supper or whatever you want to call it.

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