Despite barely three spoons of dinner left in it, “Sure,” I said.
It was becoming a routine after my French class that I dropped by the shop across the street for dinner-to-go. A good variety of cold and hot foods spread over four rows, you take whatever you feel like and pay according to the total weight. That night, it was fried rice with beef stew and lemongrass grilled chicken.
“Ooh this tastes rather good!” he said, referring to the beef stew.
“But you don’t like red wine or anything but stock in your stews.” Sometimes my natural defenses beat my brains hands-down. Hours later, having shown the husband a printout of Jamie Oliver’s “Beef and Ale Stew” recipe, I was looking forward to finally making beef stew with ale the next day. Since then, the husband lifted the household embargo on beer and ale in stews.
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
4 sticks of celery, diced
4 dried bay leaves
1.5 pound beef steak, cut into 1-inch cubes or smaller
1 Tbsp plain flour
1 pint 2.7 oz (550 ml) pale ale
1 14.5 oz (411 g) can diced tomatoes
2 tsp tomato paste
(Optional: table salt and freshly ground pepper)
1. Using a 6-quart pressure-cooker pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat for one minute. Add the onions, carrots, celery and bay leaves, cook for 8 minutes.
2. Add the beef and flour. Stir thoroughly so that there are no lumps of flour in the pot. Pour in the ale, add the tomatoes and tomato paste. Give it a good stir while allowing the ale to fizzle out.
3. Close the pressure-cooker lid and lock. It takes about 5 minutes for the pressure indicator to rise. When this happens, reduce the heat to a moderately low simmer (not too low as you want to maintain the pressure). Leave the pressure cooker to do its magic for 15 minutes.
4. Release the pressure and cook without the lid for the next 25 minutes. Turn up the heat so that the liquid is on a rolling boil and thus gradually reduce. Stir and gently scrape the base on the pot over three intervals at this stage.
5. For the next 5 minutes, reduce the heat to a low boil to avoid getting splattered. The liquid would have thickened by now. Keep stirring and scraping the base, you won’t have any trouble washing the pot later.
6. Remove the bay leaves. Add salt and pepper to taste if truly necessary.
You may want to try the recipe a few times, altering your choice of booze. I hope you find one that you love which won't cost too much.