Turning a tough cut of meat into a hearty, succulent meal involves only a couple of hours of slow simmering. Many recipes call for a simple stock or red wine, which not only braises the meat but also imparts a flavor and, in turn, thickens and reduces into the perfect accompanying sauce. This recipe uses Belgian-style ale, which enhances the simple, earthy taste of the beef and saut;ed onions. Serve with small boiled new potatoes.
- 1/4 pound slab bacon, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 3 pounds beef chuck, or round, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 to 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 large onions (about 1 1/2 pounds), thinly sliced
- 2 bottles ale (12 ounces each), about 3 cups
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 3 dried bay leaves
Adjust rack to bottom third of oven, and preheat to 325 degrees. In a medium-large Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium-low heat until crisp, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet; set aside.
Season beef with salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons oil to pot, and raise heat to medium high. Working in batches, brown meat, 1 to 2 minutes per side. As each batch is browned, transfer to a medium bowl; set aside.
If necessary, add remaining tablespoon oil. Lower heat to medium. Add onions, and deglaze with about 2 tablespoons ale, scraping any browned bits from bottom of pan with a wooden spoon. Continue to cook, stirring frequently until soft, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle flour over onions, and cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Add remaining ale, and bring to a boil, scraping any remaining browned bits from bottom of pan with a wooden spoon.
Tie thyme, parsley, and bay leaves in a bundle with a piece of kitchen twine. Add to onions. Return bacon and beef to pan, pushing beef down into liquid. (The liquid will not completely cover beef). Add 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Cover, and transfer to oven. Cook until beef is fork-tender, about 2 hours. Remove herb bundle, and discard. Taste, and adjust for seasoning. Serve hot.