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.

Text Only
  • 7-26-simon-slaw.jpg Cooking with Simon: Stomp grapes and eat Texas food

    If you’re picking up the newspaper on Saturday, you still have a chance to come out to Sabor a Pasion and celebrate the grape harvest at the 2nd Annual Charity Grape Stomp.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • Two decades of storytelling

    For the past 20 years, I have covered everything under the sun while working as community editor at the Palestine Herald-Press. I have covered festivals, banquets, graduations, fires, wrecks, elections, giant vegetables, you name it, I probably wrote about it.

    July 26, 2014

  • At the Movies: 'Begin Again' — Fresh tale creates appeal

    Some people film big pictures.  Others do small pictures.  Writer-director John Carney makes small pictures. 

    July 26, 2014

  • IMG_1373.jpeg COOKING WITH SIMON: Summer produce brings recipe inspiration

    Chefs are always recreating their menus and finding new inspiration for recipes. People ask me how where my new ideas come from and what I do to get inspired. The answer – mowing the lawn – and, by the way, I have a lot of lawn, vineyard and fields to mow.

    July 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • Swiss Chard  & Peach Salad COOKING WITH SIMON: Garden vegetables ready to harvest

    Last month, I was invited to cook for a group of clients at a fishing lodge in Alaska. It was quite an experience – beautiful scenery, amazing salmon, halibut, and great accessibility to some of the best fishing in the world.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • watermelon COOKING WITH SIMON: Red, white and watermelon

    Happy 4th of July weekend! On every street corner the fruit of Texas is being sold from the back of old trucks and roadside produce stands.

    July 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • COLUMN: Musings about life and the pursuit of happiness

    Yesterday was July 4th, a time we celebrate independence and the truths that all men are created equal and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” to quote Mr. Jefferson.

    July 5, 2014

  • MOVIE REVIEW: 22 Jump Street

    I should have known better.  Just like “Legally Blonde” and “Dumb and Dumber,” a comedy based on a premise as opposed to one based on truly funny characters merged with a clever situation should never have a sequel.

    July 3, 2014

  • 6-28--SIMON-Lamb-Sliders.jpg Cooking with Simon: Celebrate July 4th with lamb burgers

    Being born in one country and raised in another can bring a bit of confusion to one’s life. And then to find yourself living in a third country as an adult, is one reason this kiwi is all messed up.

    June 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Editor's Notebook: Kids can create their own summer fun

    Things are so different today than when I was a kid. A recent conversation with my 9-year-old son reinforced my belief.

    June 28, 2014