Saturday, October 17, 2009

Short-Rib Beef Stew with Ale

I was browsing through all my favorite recipe websites last week looking for inspiration for creating our weekly menu in preparation for grocery shopping. Cool weather is here, so I'm totally into soup mode. But I wanted something different than my fall back standards. Something hearty to make me feel better about not being able to eat all the wonderfully tempting cream soups I keep reading about. This beef stew really caught my eye. It sounded totally different from my normal taste profile. I made it yesterday and it lived up to the hype. It was delicious. I found the recipe on the cooking blog Simply Recipes, one of my absolute favorites. Elise Bauer, the blog's owner, features good home cooking with just enough of a challenge to make it interesting. She describes her recipes as using "mostly whole food ingredients and only occasionally a few things from cans or prepared foods. We believe in a varied, healthy diet, using real butter, real cream, eggs, lots of green vegetables, and protein from meat, fish, beans, and cheese." Exactly the way I like to cook.

I've reprinted the recipe here in its original form. What did I do differently? Well, I only had one type of Paprika so I went with that. I used fire roasted tomatoes. (yum!) I used a pale ale, because I opened the wrong bottle by mistake and didn't want to waste it. I totally forgot the carrots, and not on purpose because I love them.

I cut the recipe in half but I used the whole 12 ounces of ale. Even then, by the time I added the veggies, it needed a bit more liquid. I added a can of beef broth. It was still a very thick stew.

This is not a fast meal. It took at least 3 hours, not counting prep time. But most of that is time in the oven or simmering on the stove. Prep itself was fast and easy. It is a wonderful stew to have cooking in the background while doing housework on a cold winter day. So aromatic!!
I think the recipe turned out great. It will definitely go in my winter rotation and next time I'll even buy some smoked Paprika!

Short-Rib Beef Stew with Ale


1/2 cup flour
2 Tbsp hot paprika
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
Freshly ground black pepper
4 pounds bone-in beef short ribs, trimmed of excess fat
4 strips thick-cut bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bottle (12 oz.) brown ale
1 can (14.5 oz.) whole peeled tomatoes, chopped and juices reserved
2 pounds Yukon Gold or russet potatoes
2 large carrots
1 pound turnips


1 Preheat oven to 300°. Combine flour, hot paprika, smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of black pepper in a large bowl. Dredge the short ribs in the flour mixture.

2 In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, cook bacon until fat renders. Transfer bacon with a slotted spoon to paper towels and reserve. Pour off all but 1 Tbsp of the bacon fat from pot. (Do not pour down the drain or you will clog your drain when the fat hardens as it cools.) Add short ribs and brown on all sides, 3 to 5 minutes per side.

3 Chop reserved bacon and set aside. Transfer short ribs to a plate and reserve. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the pot and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the ale and, using a wooden spoon or spatula, scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add tomatoes and their juices and reserved bacon. Increase heat to high and bring mixture to a boil. Return short ribs to pot, cover, put in the preheated oven, and cook two hours.

4 Peel potatoes, turnips, and carrots, and cut into 1-in. pieces. Add to short ribs, cover, and cook until potatoes are tender and meat pulls away easily from the bone, about 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

5 Spoon off excess fat (it helps if you have a fat separator). Remove the bones if you want, before serving.

Serves 8.

- Karen


  1. Yum Mom, when can I come over for dinner? Too bad I'm making a big pot of ham & bean soup for dinner tonight!

  2. This was last night's dinner. I made the mistake of cutting the recipe in half. There's not a lot left over... and I'm not sharing! (Actually, I think Chris already has dibs!)


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