It’s been a good while since I’ve cooked anything from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s masterpiece “The River Cottage Meat Book”. In fact, it was back in November 2008 when I cooked his recipe for “Oven Roasted Pork Chops”.
Well, it never hurts to revisit an award winner, so I thumbed through the index and found a neat and tidy little entry under beef called “Beef in Stout”. Beer and beef, now that’s a stellar combination; so after getting my ingredients together, I was ready to make some “Beef in Stout”.
One problem with cooking from a British cookbook is that there’s often a number of subtle differences in the dialect. When the recipe called for 1 pound of baby onions, I figured that meant pearl onions.
Anyway, after trimming and cutting my 3 pounds of chuck into sizeable chunks, peeling the onions, and cutting the 8 ounces of pancetta into cubes, I was ready to start.
Here, either 2 tbs of butter or drippings is heated in a skillet. I didn’t have enough bacon drippings so I used a combination of bacon grease and kerrygold butter.
Next the onions were introduced to the hot grease.
While waiting for the onions to brown, I discovered a fatal flaw in this dish. Fearnley-Whittingstall must be a dynamite resolve, because there’s no way a normal man will leave freshly fried bacon alone. So, there was rampant sampling of the fried pancetta while the onions were cooking.
Last in the skillet were all the chunks of beef.
In the ingredients list, Fearnley-Whittingstall calls for 4 cups stout, such as Murphys.
This concoction was brought to a boil, reduced to simmer and after placing a lid slightly ajar, left to its own devices.
Yes, 8 ounces of button mushrooms and 8 ounces of shitake mushrooms (sliced ¼ inch thick) were sweated in butter until they “tightened”. I’m still not exactly sure what that means.
I took it to mean when they’ve released most of their liquid. At this point, I think they were ready for the stew pot.
Even with my massive mistake of 4 bottles instead of 4 cups of stout, the bitterness wasn’t really an issues. Yes it needed a few good shots of salt and black pepper, but this was a quality stew. Sorry, there are no pictures of it over rice or potatoes. I’ll save that for next time when I try a different stout and the correct amount.