Beef and Beer Stew

It really is autumn

As I type this, the furnace is gently warming our home.  It feels too early, but it also means that the summer heat has left (for good?), so I’m choosing to embrace it.

Our garden has been hit or miss this year.  The tomatoes?  Wonderful.  The beans?  Yeah, not so much.  Though today I did harvest a dozen or so dried Canadian Wonder pods.  They’re a kidney type bean, which our son asked to grow this year.  He loves them in chili.  Our herbs have done well, too.  The Thai basil varieties that we grew were a delight, and the oregano in my planter box came back with vigour this summer.  The thyme (both regular and lemon) were potent with the summer heat, and our Cotton Candy mint didn’t disappoint.

Thai Basil seed heads, Canadian Wonder pod, Mexican Honey tomato, Oregano seed heads

Inspired by the autumnal weather (again), I took to the kitchen to make something for my husband to take to work this week.  He recently bought a microwave for his work truck, so now I can send along things for him to heat up. Today it was beef stew.  Sirloin beef chunks, browned and simmered with aromatic veggies in a robust beer.

I could have used Guinness, but I like the flavour of this one. Plus the bottle is so much fun.

So simple, no recipe is required

Sorry there’s no “recipe”, but this really is just a simple stew.  I cubed some sirloin, salted and browned it in fat (I used lard), set it aside while I softened some onions, carrots, celery and garlic and then added some tomato paste and a little flour.  Next the beef went back in, and then the beer.  No broth needed.  Fresh thyme from the garden found its way into the pot and little Worcestershire sauce rounded things out.  After a good, long simmer, I finished it with a splash of cider vinegar and put it into glass storage containers for my husband’s lunches.

Of course the stew can be embellished with… well, anything really.  Mushrooms, parsnips, squash, potatoes, turnip, peas, cumin, curry powder…  The beer can be wine, broth, or even water.  I love that about simple recipes.  They can be embellished, played with, scaled back or personalized any way you like.  When the world, either on a global scale or as local as your own back yard is the inspiration, you really can’t go wrong.

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