Bourbon, Beer and Beef Stew

Another excellent cooking blog with great photography is No Recipes. Not only have I found recipes for beloved Japanese home cooked dishes, Marc has recipes that span the culinary spectrum.

1 1/2″ cube of salted pork fat (a.k.a. fatback)
2 lbs well marbled chuck
1 Tbs fresh ground black pepper
1 Tbs kosher salt
3 Tbs flour
2 small onions chopped
3 cloves of garlic smashed
1/4 C bourbon
1/2 can of beer (chug the other half)
2 C chicken or beef stock
1 Tbs tomato paste (or ketchup)
1 bay leaf
10 juniper berries
2 large potatoes cut into 1″ chunks
2 large carrots cut into 1″ chunks
1 C peas

Cut the pork fat into 1/4″ cubes and add them to a large enameled cast iron pot. Put the pot over medium heat and let the fat render out. While that’s doing its thing, dry off any extra moisture on the beef. Toss the meat with the salt and pepper, then dust it with the flour, tossing to coat evenly.

When most of the fat has rendered out of the pork, add 1 layer of beef to the pot. Let this fry for about 4-5 minutes or until you get a nice crispy brown coating on the beef. This brown stuff is where all the flavor is, so more brown = better. Flip and brown the other side. Transfer the cooked beef back to the plate your uncooked beef is on (don’t worry it’s all going to get cooked more later) and repeat with the rest of the beef.

Add the onions and garlic to the pot and fry until soft and very brown (10-15 minutes). Again, brown = better. Turn up the heat to high and add the bourbon (you can light it with a match to satisfy the pyromaniac in you, but it’s not necessary). Add the beer and stock and bring to a boil. At this point you could skim off the fat and scum that floats up, but I didn’t have much, and it didn’t seem very manly to think about my waistline, so I let it be. Add the tomato paste, bay leaf and juniper berries and salt to taste. Partially cover with a lid and cook on low heat for 1 hour.

Add the vegetable and continue cooking for about another hour or until the meat and vegetable are tender. Add the peas, heat through and serve with a crusty heel of bread.

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