This twist on classic beef chuck stew is loaded with chunks of potato and butternut squash, plus bacon—simmered in lager beer mixed with beef stock, and fragrant spices.
- 3 pounds beef chuck, well trimmed, cut into 2-2 ½-inch large cubes
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed or safflower oil
- 6 slices meaty bacon, chopped ½ inch
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 large bay leaves
- 1 bundle thyme and sage, a small handful of each
- 1 tablespoon paprika, a palmful
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard, ⅔ palmful
- About ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- About ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 3 tablespoons sundried tomato paste or tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 ½ cups lager beer, 12 ounces
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 ¼-1 ½ pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces (the large neck of a squash, save the bottom for another meal)
- 2 large or 3 medium Russet potatoes (about 1 ¼ pounds), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
Preheat oven to 325˚F with rack 1 rung below center.
Let meat stand at room temp 15-20 minutes, then pat dry. Season the flour liberally with salt and pepper.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon oil, 1 turn of the pan, brown and remove bacon. Brown meat dredged lightly in seasoned flour in the drippings and remove to plate. Brown in 2 batches so as not to crowd the pan and add more oil if necessary for the second round. Add onions, celery, carrot, garlic, bay, thyme and sage bundle, salt, pepper, paprika, mustard, allspice and nutmeg, then partially cover and sweat vegetables 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add sundried tomato paste and Worcestershire and stir 1 minute. Add beer and reduce a minute or so while scraping up the fond and drippings in pot. Add stock, beef and bacon, then cover and transfer to oven 90 minutes.
Add squash and potatoes to stew and return to oven 30 minutes longer. Remove the herb bundle and bay leaves and serve in shallow bowls.