There's nothing quite like a hearty, warming beef stew simmering on the stove on a cold day. This stew is the only one we make at our household simply because it is the best. An entire bottle of Alaskan Smoked Porter goes into it, and then we serve another bottle of the same beer with the meal!
When you think of stew, you probably think of cold weather. But you probably don't think about beer, right? Beer is what makes this recipe so special. What stew wouldn't be good after its been simmered in beer for about 3 hours??
I will admit that prior to this recipe, I wasn't the biggest fan of stew. It's really not much to look at, right? When I started dating my husband he ranted and raved about his "Alaskan Smoked Porter Stew". I secretly dreaded the day he made me try it. Aaaaaand then...I tried it. It was amazing. And completely changed my mind about stew. Now we buy at least two bottles of Smoked Porter every year it is released so we can make this stew. (Its a specialty release from Alaskan Brewery, only available in the fall/winter.)
Ohhhh yeah, talk about greatness! While this stew is simmering for 3 hours, the smoked flavors from the beer meld with the veggies and beef in perfect harmony. While writing this post, Andrew told me that the original version of this recipe actually only calls for a porter, not necessarily a smoked porter. Which means my fiance is a genius for using Alaskan Brewery's Smoked Porter. In contrast to a regular porter, the smoked porter adds a deeper flavor: an extra meatiness, a heartiness that actually gives the stew substance. Its not just meat and potatoes anymore, its a smoky, peppery meal that gets better with every bite (and even better the day after--if you have any leftovers).
Alaskan Smoked Porter is a seasonal release from the Alaskan Brewing Company (you guessed it...in Alaska!). Every year they bottle the beer, they mark the vintage on it--when breweries display the year like this, it usually means the beer is meant for aging (or just ages well. Drink that beer as soon as you want). Being a beer with a lot of powerful smokiness, this porter ages particularly well. Holding a bottle for a few years will mellow those flavors out and create a different drinking experience than just drinking it as soon as it becomes available. If you've never had smoked beer, it kind of tastes the way it sounds...smokey. But don't worry, it doesn't straight up taste like a campfire. Its a meaty beer with flavors of black pepper, chocolate, and bacon. There's a hidden sweetness in the beer too, kind of reminiscent of maple syrup. Just think about what these flavors do to the stew!
If you want to try this beer with something other than this stew, it pairs excellently with other meals with strong flavors. Think grilled or smoked meats or anything with bacon--the smokiness in the beer will just add to the smokiness of those foods. If you're afraid to try a smoked beer, then cooking with it is a great option since it will cook down and mellow out. There are other beer options to pair with this stew as well if you really don't like the sound of a smoked porter. Andrew opened up a belgian dubbel with it on our "leftovers" night. It was sweeter and fruitier than the smoked ale, which contrasted with the flavors in the dish in a good way.
Beef Stew Simmered in Smoked Porter
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 4 hours 30 mins
Total time: 4 hours 40 mins
Serves: 6-8 servings
- 2 1/2 pounds stew beef, cut into 1 inch chunks if not already
- 1 22oz bottle of Alaskan Smoked Porter (or 2 12oz bottles of any other porter ale)
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 8 oz water
- 4 Cups beef broth
- 1 8oz can tomato paste
- 1/4 Cup flour
- 3 stalks of celery, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 4 red potatoes, chopped
- 2 Tbsp salt
- 2 Tbsp pepper
- Heat oil and butter in a large stew pot. When hot, sear the stew meat on all sides until brown.
- Remove meat from pot (leave butter, oil and drippings). Add the onion and cook until caramelized. Mix in the flour.
- Add the beef broth, beer, tomato paste, 8 oz of water, salt and pepper and return the beef to the pot. Stir well and bring to a boil.
- Simmer the stew for three hours.
- When the meat is tender after 3 hours, add the celery, carrots and potatoes. Simmer an additional 1 1/2 hours. Add salt and pepper to taste if desired.
Final Note: I did not receive compensation of any kind from Alaskan Brewery to write this post. Their Smoked Porter is simply our favorite beer to make the recipe with. All opinions are my own :)