This stew, from No Recipes, is very manly. And masculine. It is basically a roiling pot of testosterone.
Er, well, I don’t know, actually. I mean, all beef stews are manly, because big hunks of beef are basically the manliest meat there is, short of going out in the woods (or, for extra manliness points, the tundra), and killing some animal with your bare hands. No wussing around with guns. You need to PUNCH THAT DEER OUT.
Where was I? Oh yeah, the manliness of this stew. Right, so big hunks of nicely-browned beef and potatoes (big chunks are manlier than bite-sized bits, obviously), that’s pretty masculine, so’s a thick, gravy-like sauce, beer, bourbon, and rendering down pork fat to saute things in instead of mincing around with butter or olive oil. But although it had a bare minimum of vegetables in it (peas and carrots), it would be manlier with none at all, and also? Couldn’t it have used some bacon? And never mind the juniper berries I omitted from the original recipe. Berries. Decidedly not masculine, even, as I said in the comments on the original post, if you do make gin out of them. So if I made this stew again, I’d probably throw down with some bacon. If it was Matt only, there wouldn’t be vegetables, either (although I liked having them there, but I am an admitted girl). But really, all beef stews are pretty masculine, and this is still manlier than most, so it’s still head and shoulders, or something, ahead of the competition.
P.S., I halved it, although I screwed up some of the proportions, and we’ve still got a bit left.
Manly Man Stew
a 3/4″ cube of fatback, cut into 1/4″ cubes
1 lb beef chuck, cut into the manliest size possible while still remaining manageable…
1 1/2 tbsp flour
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tbsp bourbon
1/2 a beer (so, 6 oz), and the original recipe says to chug the rest, but I found out it’s best to wait and chug it a little later in case you wind up needing it
1 cup chicken stock, and if you wind up not having enough, make up the difference with beer (see? what did I say?)
1/2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 a bay leaf, more or less
1 large potato, peeled and cut into manly chunks
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into manly chunks
1/2 cup peas (I used frozen peas to no ill effect)
a generous amount of salt and pepper
Put the fatback cubes in a big pot over medium heat and let them render. I honestly don’t know if you’re supposed to wait until they’re literally completely dissolved, but I wound up taking mine out once they’d gotten all brown and dry. If you’re more knowledgeable than me about the correct properties of salted pork fat, then do the correct thing.
Toss the beef with flour, salt, and pepper.
Brown the beef, 4 or 5 minutes per side, turning when necessary. And I mean brown, not just “not raw.”
Once you’ve got a crusty brown crust all over the beef, add in the onions and garlic.
Saute those until soft and browned, about 7 – 10 minutes.
Then pour in your bourbon. It will probably boil pretty much immediately.
Add your beer, stock, and possibly more beer.
Bring to a boil, although mine pretty much just went ahead and boiled without me having to turn the heat up, and then turn down to a simmer.
Leave to simmer, partly covered, for about an hour.
Toss in the carrot and potato and let it cook at least another half hour, or however long it takes for the potatoes and beef to be tender.
**Note – the liquid was reduced down to thick gravy by the time I threw in the vegetables, so I added about a cup of water so that the potatoes would have something to cook in. Do this if necessary, and don’t worry – that amount reduced down to thick gravy as well.**
Add the peas.
Cook until heated through, then eat with manly noises and scratching.