The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas


October 5, 2013

COOKING WITH SIMON: Beef and Beer Equals Flavor

When the weather begins to change from summer to fall I begin to crave all of my recipes for braised meat. As the weather cools down and we experience more rainy days, the smell of something cooking low and slow on the stove warms you body and soul.

It reminds me of rainy Sunday afternoons in England sitting in the pub by a warm fire with a pint of ale and a warm bowl of steak and kidney pie or beef and Guinness stew.

The way the meat is prepared in both of those dishes are the perfect example of braising. And speaking of making things better – the beer in the sauce was a great way to add flavor. Who says English food has no flavor? Come and taste mine and you will change your mind.

Braising is typically reserved for larger, less tender cuts of meat and needs plenty of time and low heat to discover their full flavor potential. The technique is simple. Sear the meat in a small amount of oil over high heat until it is browned on all sides. Then add your liquid – broth, water or stock flavored with wine, herbs, beer or juice – and simmer on low heat in the oven or on the stovetop until fork tender.

The liquid should not cover the meat and vegetables like potatoes, carrots, onions or parsnips can definitely be added.

In this recipe I used a more tender cut of meat because I wanted to reduce the fat content in the dish. Sirloin or ribeye is a great choice. For the beer, Guinness is a classic, but some other favorites I like to use are Fat Tire, Alaskan Amber or Harpoon IPA.

When cooking with beer a medium to heavy body ale has enough complex flavors – to create the perfect sauce. You can get creative with your choices and create dozens of flavor profiles. With some stores offering create your own six pack you can try a variety of beers – and since the recipe calls for half a beer that leaves the other half for the chef.

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