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Eat cheap but well! Make a tasty beef in beer

Chef Charles Mattocks on spending less for a delicious home-cooked meal

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TODAY recipes
updated 10:19 a.m. ET April 30, 2009

It doesn't have to cost a bundle or take endless hours to serve your family a tender, tasty dinner — you can cook up something yummy and unique for less! In “Eat Cheap But Eat Well,” chef Charles Mattocks offers approachable and affordable recipes that inspire wallet-friendly cooking habits. Learn how to make a delicious beef in beer:

Beef in beer
Charles Mattocks

This is a variation on a traditional French country recipe called carbonnade flamande, which is essentially a stew cooked with beer. The long, slow cooking makes less ex­pensive cuts of meat tender and tasty. Because it gets even better the second day, this makes enough for 8 servings, so you’ll have leftovers. This is not a low-fat recipe and won’t work very well with lean meat and turkey bacon, but if you prefer not to use the bacon fat, you can substitute 2 table­spoons olive oil. Serve this with crusty French bread.


1 2 1⁄2- to 3-pound boneless chuck roast
3 large onions, quartered
1⁄4 pound bacon
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups beer
1 cup beef broth
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 1-inch slices of French bread, crusts removed
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Recipe continues below ↓

1. Preheat the oven to 325° F.

2. Cut the meat into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Cut each slice into 2 x 2-inch strips and set aside. Cut each quartered onion into 1/4-inch-thick slices and set aside.

3. Cut the bacon into small pieces and place in a large skillet. Cook over medium heat until light brown and crisp. Transfer the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large, heavy heatproof casserole dish or Dutch oven.

4. Add the butter to the bacon fat in the skillet and increase the heat to high. Add one-quarter of the meat strips at a time and cook, stirring, until the meat is browned; transfer the meat to the casserole. Add the onions to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until light brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the casserole.

5. Add the beer, broth, garlic, brown sugar, thyme, bay leaves, salt, and pepper to the casserole and stir.

6. Spread the bread on both sides with the mustard and place on top of the stew. Cover, place the casserole over a burner, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Transfer the casserole to the oven and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the meat is very tender.

7. Return the casserole to the stovetop over medium heat. Stir the vinegar into the dish and simmer for 2 minutes.

8. Pour off all the liquid into a saucepan and skim off the fat. Bring the liquid to a boil until it thickens to the consistency of gravy. Pour back over the meat, and serve directly from the pot.


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