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Beef in Designer Beer

We confess to having a bit of a giggle over this recipe: who says ‘designer beer’ anymore?!? However, with all due respect to the culinarily flawless Delia Smith, the recipe was first published in 1995 when such a thing was said. We suppose the recipe could be called Beef in Microbrewery Beer these days, but we tend to like the quaintness of the original name. Either way, this easy beef stew topped with large cheesy croutons is delicious!

Beef in Designer Beer

1 tbs. olive oil
2 lbs. braising steak, cut into 2″ cubes (we use London Broil)
1 large onion, quartered
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 heaping tbs. all-purpose flour
2 cups designer beer
salt and freshly  ground pepper
few sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves

For the croutons:

1 tbs. olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
6 slices French bread, cut diagonally 1″ thick
2 tbs. wholegrain mustard
1 cup grated Gruyère cheese

Heat the oven to 300°F. Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole that has a lid. Cook the meat until it turns a dark mahogany on all sides. Cook in batches, as overcrowding the meat will cause it to steam and not brown. As you brown the meat, remove it to a plate. When all the meat is done, add the onions and toss them around until they become dark on the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds, turn the heat down and return the meat to the casserole. Sprinkle over the flour, then stir until the juices have been absorbed. It may look rather stodgy and unpromising at this point, but not to worry. The long, slow cooking will transform it’s appearance.

Now, gradually add the beer and bring to a gentle boil. Add salt, pepper, thyme, and bay leaves. Cover and transfer to the oven. Cook for 2½ hours. Don’t be tempted to taste it during the cooking process, as it takes the full time for the beer to mellow and become a luscious sauce.

For the croutons, drizzle the olive oil in a baking pan, add the crushed garlic and rub the bread in it on both sides. Place the pan in the oven with the beef for the last 20-25 minutes, until crisp and crunchy. Spread with the mustard and top with the cheese. Arrange them on top of the beef and place the casserole under the broiler until the cheese is bubbling. Serve immediately.

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