Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Maibock Braised Beef Stew

Clare and I are trying to eat our way to the Great American Beer Festival.  We joined the Passport Club at Gordon Biersch, which, after earning thousands of points, we could receive a free trip to the GABF.  Needless to say, we have a long way to go.  Still, we both like Gordon Biersch and I particularly enjoy their seasonal beers.  The seasonal on tap now is the Maibock.

A Maibock is a style of beer that originated in Germany.  The beer style evolved from the efforts of brewers to strike a balance between Helles beers and Doppelbock beers.  Gordon Biersch's Maibock, which is very good, is a little on the sweet and malty side, which needs to be taken into consideration if you are like me, who has been thinking of a way to incorporate this beer into a recipe.  

So, I purchased a growler of the Maibock and proceeded to search for a recipe that I could use to incorporate the beer.  Fortunately, Gordon Biersch has recipes on its website that incorporate its beers.  One of the recipes is a Maibock braised beef stew.  With the recipe in hand, I decided that I would proceed to make the dish.  

Usually, when I cook from recipes, I tailor the recipe to accommodate the tastes of myself and my guests.  In this case, I made two changes.  First, I am not a big fan of turnips and rutabagas.  So, I left them out, but feel free to add about 1/2 of a turnip and 1 rutabaga (cut into eighths).  I also forgot to add the carrot when I made this recipe, but I did include it in the recipe.  Second, I did not use a bouquet garni; instead, I opted to directly add certain herbs to the stew.  I used thyme, sage and oregano.  I also added some Tabasco sauce because I love spicy food. 

Adapted from Gordon Biersch
Serves 2

1 pound of grass-fed stew meat
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped into eighths
1 red onion, chopped into eighths
1 carrot, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 potato, cut into even sized pieces
16 ounces of Gordon Biersch Maibock
6 ounces of tomato paste
16 ounces of chicken broth
12 sage leaves
1 pinch of dried oregano
5-6 dashes of Tabasco sauce
1 few thyme branches
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

1.  Brown the meat.  Salt and pepper the beef.  Sear the beef on high heat in a hot skillet to brown all sides.  Do the meat in batches.

2.  Begin the stew.  Place the meat in a pot with the garlic, onions, and potatoes.  Take part of the Gordon Biersch beer and deglaze the skillet.  Add the juices and the brown bits to the pot.  Add the rest of the beer, tomato and chicken broth.  

3.  Simmer the stew. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for at least an hour, until the meat is tender. 

This dish is very good.  Cooking the stew for an hour helps to concentrate the flavors until there is a concentrated broth that is velvety and coats the spoon or fork as you eat the stew.  While  I could not taste the Maibock beer, that is to be expected.  The Maibock is a beer with a relatively sweet, malty taste that can be easily eclipsed by flavors such as tomato and sage. I am definitely going to make this recipe again, maybe with other bock beers. 


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