Yes, you read that title right. Friday was the start of Anchorage's Oktoberfest, which obviously doesn't have a patch on the German version but is a much-loved event. Polka bands, dancing, beer songs, and of course lots and lots of different kinds of beer.
I'm not a beer drinker. With that said, I like the flavor of beer in food. It gives a rich, malty quality to chili, tastes good in mussel dishes and--most especially-- is the essential flavor in beef carbonnade.
|Seriously, who gets the job of naming these things?|
This is Oktoberfest food: full-flavored and hearty, tasting of fall.
Adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything and Bon Appetit Magazine
2 lbs. beef top round, trimmed of fat and tendon and cubed
4 tbsp. olive oil
2 large yellow onions, sliced into thick rounds
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 tbsp. brown sugar
6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
4 bay leaves
20 oz. dark Belgian or Belgian-style beer
2 cups beef broth, plus more to thin stew if needed
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/4 chopped fresh parsley
Salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste
Dredge the beef cubes in flour. Heat three tablespoons of oil in a large Dutch oven until shimmering. Add the beef to the hot oil in batches--making sure not to overcrowd the cubes. You don't want to overload the pan, otherwise the meat will steam rather than brown. Brown each batch of cubes thoroughly, then drain on paper towels.
|The steam keeps it from being totally clear, but the stew thickens beautifully. If you need to thin it, add extra stock. If you like it thicker, use a flour-water slurry.|