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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Beer Braised Steak & Mushrooms

This little gem turned out so tasty. I didn't initially plan to put it over spaetzle, but I had a rather large amount of the little noodle dumplings left over from the other night (I'll post how I made the spaetzle tomorrow). It was a very fortuitous pairing. I made it with venison steaks, but I really think that it would be best with chuck steak. The braising method is really good for those tougher cuts of meat. The cut that I used, being game and the equivalent of a sirloin, was so lean that it ended up being a bit on the dry side. Tender and flavorful, but still a bit dry. A cut of meat with a little more connective tissue would make this dish absolutely superb.

The first step was to saute the chunks of meat in a some oil in a Dutch oven. I used a cast iron one, which I highly recommend if you have it. I had the heat high enough to produce some good browning. And I was careful no to overcrowd the pan, either. Steaming is no good. Not at all. About when the meat was nicely browned, I threw in a chopped onion and three crushed, peeled garlic cloves. I added salt, pepper, and savory to the mix as well.

I deglazed the pan with a cup of beer. I used a lager (Yuengling) and added about one cup. I stirred to loosen all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Then I added one cup of hot beef broth. I then brought it to a boil and reduced the heat, covered, and simmered for two hours.

A couple of minutes before serving, I sauteed some halved mushrooms in a saute pan with butter. I did not cook them all the way through, just got a nice bit of browning on them. I then threw them in the pot with the meat and finished the meal with a little bit of cornstarch and heavy cream.
As I mentioned above, I served the meat over spaetzle, but it would be just as good over noodles, potatoes, or rice. Heck, it'd also be good as a soup! It is rich and flavorful. It would also be easy to make in a crock pot. Just be sure not the add the mushrooms until the end.

Beer Braised Steak & Mushrooms
Yield: serves 3-5

1 TBS oil
1 lb chuck steak cut into large chunks
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp savory
1 cup lager beer
1 cup beef broth
1 pint mushrooms, halved
1 TBS butter
3 TBS heavy cream
1 TBS cornstarch

Brown the steak in the oil until it is nicely browned. Add the onion and garlic, saute a couple minutes more. Add the salt, pepper, and savory. Deglaze the pan with the beer, stirring to lift all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the beef broth and stir. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for two hours or until the meat is fall apart tender.

Saute the mushrooms in the butter until they are nicely browned. They do not need to be cooked through. Add the mushrooms to the meat. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the top of the stew with a strainer (or mix with a little cold water) and mix in. Add the cream. Cook for five minutes.

Serve over pasta, potatoes, or rice.

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