Sunday, February 23, 2014

Slow Cooked Beef in Ale!

Sometimes you come across a recipe so good you'd just have to make it again by itself, and that's how this recipe arose.


The beef in my beef and ale pie recipe came out so tender and full of flavor that I just have to make it again and give it a showcase of its own. I felt the pie didn't do it justice. Don't get me wrong, the pie was very good but the beef was definitely the star. I actually prefer having the beef over some rice rather than encased in a pastry pie crust.

The beauty of the recipe lies in the ale, the way it foams and bubbles at the beginning when you add it into the beef for slow cooking is mesmerizing to say the least and then the aroma it produces along with the beef is mouth watering. Waiting for it to finish is the hardest part!


I've tweaked the original beef recipe a little bit to give this one a bit more flavor. While the original recipe was good, I felt that it lacked some elements, the sweetness and acidity of the product wasn't balanced as well as I would've liked it. My advice thought is taste as you go as each person's taste buds differ and then add things you like or take out things you don't like.

Saying I'm not a celery fan would be a light way of putting things but I have to admit, those stalky green things work wonders as a base. When I saw that this recipe called for it I cringed a little and then after realizing it also requires a couple of hours of cook time, I thought I'm going to outsmart this and dice the celery as tiny as possible (really it was so fine, I mind as well have minced it) and by the end of it all, all of the celery have simply dissolved into the base: Melinda 1, Celery 0, I win. 

The original recipe didn't have carrots but carrots and celery are practically married in the food world, its just not right to have one but not the other (even though I managed to dissolve the other... sorry carrot, your hubby not mine) so I added carrots, plus the more veggies the better right!!? Now to the choice of ale, the recipe I was working with called for pale ale but I say pick whatever seems fitting to you. For this round, I picked Tongue Thai-ed by Blue Moon, its supposedly infused with lemongrass and basil. As a beer, I'm going to say, not a fan of that particular combination of flavors. With the beef, it was divine. Because it was so cleverly named as tongue thai-ed, I felt it was only right to give this a slight Asian flare as well (I added in a couple of tablespoon of XO sauce that can be found in most Asian markets). Enough talk, recipe time!


Ale Cooked Shredded Beef
Adapted from Beef and Ale Pies recipe
Makes 5-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Roughly 2 lbs beef chuck, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • Salt
  • Ground pepper
  • Flour for dusting
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 stalks of celery, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 2/3 cups of ale of choice (I used Blue Moon’s Tongue Thai-ed)
  • 1 cup of beef stock
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Tapatio hot sauce (optional)


Procedures:

    1. Heat oil in a frying pan, sprinkle beef with salt and pepper, dust with flour and cook, in batches, 3-4 minutes each side and set aside
    2. Heat oil  and sauté onions, celery, and garlic for about 5 minutes or until tender
    3. Return beef to pan with bay leaves, tomato paste, beer, vinegar, beef stock, and sugar and bring to a boil.
    4. Reduce heat, cover pan, and cook for 2-3 hours or until tender.
    5. Remove beef to shred and then return to pan.

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