A hint of nutmeg brings awesome flavor to this inexpensive,
this recipe in America’s Test Kitchen Menu Cookbook. He was thumbing through and this one jumped out
at him and are we glad it did!We wanted to try something
new and the fact that it is a one-pot meal appealed to us. Belgian Beef Stew is a new comfort food for
Preparation for this Belgian beef stew only took about 45
minutes to gather everything and cut, measure, and brown the ingredients, so don’t be intimidated by the
ingredients list. It does take about 2 ½ hours to braise in the oven, so you will need to plan ahead. The thing I
like the best about this type of meal is that you can pop it into the oven and go do other things while it is
The smell of the cooking stew wafted throughout the house and
tempted us the entire time it was in the oven. The spice mixture combined with the ale gave the stew a different
flavor than any other stew that we make. The hint of nutmeg gave it an exotic touch. We loved the flavor so much
that this one will go into our recipe box of favorites. I normally do not like leftovers, but we finished this up a
couple of nights after we first made it and the leftovers were even terrific!
We followed the recipe directions fairly closely, but we have
changed them slightly below for clarification. When browning meat, place only part of the meat pieces into a heavy
bottomed pan with a little oil in the bottom. It should be done in the same pan that you will use to cook the stew
in so that you can take advantage of the flavors in the pan when cooking the stew, preferably a Dutch oven or
similar. We don’t have a Dutch oven (yet), so we use a large pot that is oven safe. Turn the heat to medium high
and leave the meat to sear for a couple of minutes. You do not want to crowd the meat or it will steam more than
brown. That’s why we brown the meat in batches instead of all at once. Don’t stir very often or it will not brown
well. Be patient, then flip the meat pieces to brown the other sides. The idea is not to cook the meat, that will
happen in the oven with the rest of the stew, but to give it nice color and additional flavor by browning the meat
before adding it to the rest of the stew ingredients.
Just before the stew is ready, boil up some egg noodles or
other type of pasta to pour the stew over. You will want the noodles to be fresh and hot, so read the instructions
for cooking whatever you decide to use and plan accordingly.
The type of beer you use will make a big difference in the
flavor of the stew. We used an ale which turned out great. Other types of beer would change the flavor, but I think
most types would work. Don’t worry, all of the alcohol cooks off so it is safe for everyone. Use non-alcoholic beer
if you prefer. The flavor is what matters, not alcohol. If you decide not to use beer at all, increase the beef
broth to make up for it. It will completely change the flavor, however.
We hope you and your family like Belgian Beef Stew as much as
pounds onions, halved and sliced into ¼ “ thick
garlic cloves, minced
Tablespoons minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon
teaspoon ground nutmeg
cup all purpose flour
Tablespoons tomato paste
cup low-sodium chicken broth, canned or
cup beef broth or beef
cups beer (ale)
Tablespoons minced fresh
Egg noodles or rice, prepared according to
1. Adjust oven rack to the lower middle position and
preheat the oven to 3250 F.
2. Preparing the meat: Take the beef chuck-eye roast out of the package and
rinse it well under clear running water. Pat it dry with paper towels. Using your hands, break the
meat apart into big segments along the natural seams in the meat. Using a sharp knife, carefully
cut away the excess fat and silverskin (the fibrous membrane between the segments of meat). Cut the
meat into 1 ½ -inch cubes. Salt and pepper beef pieces. Cut bacon slices into 1” wide
3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy pot
over medium high heat until starting to smoke. Place 1/3 of the beef into the pan and brown
on all sides, approximately 8 minutes. Transfer browned meat to bowl. Using the fat left in
the pot, brown the remaining beef in two batches to avoid crowding in the pot so they will
evenly brown. When browned, transfer each batch to the bowl.
bacon to the now empty pot and cook over medium heat until beginning to brown and fat is
rendered, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining tablespoon of oil and add onion slices and ½
teaspoon salt. Cook until onions are soft, stirring often, about 5 to 7
5. Stir in
garlic, thyme, and nutmeg and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and tomato
paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
whisk in the chicken broth and beef broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of
the pan. Gradually whisk in beer until smooth and bring the mixture up to a simmer, not a
boil. Stir in browned meat and any juices from the bowl.
7. Add bay
leaves and vinegar and return to simmer. Cover pot partially (lid should be off center to
leave about 1 inch open). Transfer to the oven and cook until meat is tender and sauce is
thickened and glossy, approximately 2 to 2 ½ hours. Stir well after the first
8. Take the
stew out of the oven and remove and discard the bay leaves. Stir in the parsley if you are
serving it immediately. Otherwise, the stew can be cooled and refrigerated for up to 2 days.
When reheating the stew, take the stew out of the refrigerator and remove the hardened fat
from the surface. Gently reheat over medium low heat for about 30 minutes. Gently stir in
parsley and salt and pepper to taste before serving.