Dutch Beef Stew Cooked in Beer
2 slices thick smoked bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into two-inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon sugar
4 onions, cut in half, peeled, and then cut into thin slices
1 12-ounce bottle dark beer
3 cups low-sodium beef stock, boiled down to 2 cups
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, divided (or more to taste)
¼ cup heavy cream
You’re going to need a large, heavy pot (at least 12 inches in diameter) that has a lid that fits tightly. Before you start, use the pot as a template to cut a circle of parchment paper the size of the top of the pot. Set the parchment aside. Then heat the bacon pieces in the pot over medium heat until they just start to brown. Remove the bacon pieces with a slotted spoon and let the cooked bacon drain on a paper towel.
Take half the beef cubes and blot them dry with additional paper towels. Put them in a bowl and toss with ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and 2 tablespoons of flour until everything is nicely coated. Brown the beef in the hot bacon fat until it’s nicely browned. Remove the beef cubes and set aside, then repeat with the rest of the beef, adding some vegetable oil if the pot looks dry.
If there’s any fat left in the pot, pour it out and heat the butter and 1 tablespoon of oil in the pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and the sugar, plus a little salt and pepper. When it all starts to sizzle nicely, turn the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it cook for 10 minutes. Then take the lid off, turn the heat back up and cook the onions until they just start to brown. Remove the onions from the pan.
While the onions are cooking, pour 3/4 cup of beer into a measuring cup and whisk in 2 teaspoons of the mustard. After the onions come out of the pot, pour the rest of the beer in the pot, and scrape up the bottom to remove any browned bits. Add the meat back in, it should fit in a single layer in the pot. Then put the onions on top, and pour the beer/mustard mixture over. Add just enough beef stock to barely cover everything in the pot. Bring it to a simmer, and put the circle of parchment right on top of everything. Put the lid on. If the lid doesn’t look tight, put a large piece of foil over the pot and then put the lid on that.
Turn the heat down to very low, or use a simmer plate/flame tamer to regulate the heat. Simmer it slowly for an hour and a half. Remove the lid (and foil) and take the parchment out with tongs. Mix the remaining teaspoon of mustard with the cream and add it to the pot, simmering for a minute. Taste for salt, pepper, and mustard, and then sprinkle the reserved bacon over the top and serve.