Recipe & Photos by Casey Weaver –
This Yam and Beef Stew matches up perfectly with a hearty Stout.
Just because something is “rich” or “hearty” doesn’t mean it has to be “heavy” or “fatty.” Sure, there’s the easy way to create richness in a dish, load it up with butter and call it a day. But here’s a better way – combine a handful of unique flavors, cook ‘em low and slow, and let everything really come together. There is definitely nothing inherent about a beef stew that makes it unhealthy.
Celery root – looks like something out of a fairytale.
1 ј lb lean stew beef, trimmed and cut into one inch cubes
1 large yam, cubed
1 medium celery root, cubed
Ѕ cup pearled barley
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 T fresh ginger, minced
8 cups beef broth
12 oz stout beer
2 T flour
2 T olive oil
ј t cinnamon
ј t allspice
1/8 t cumin
salt and pepper
Peel fresh ginger by scraping it with the edge of a spoon…it works.
Stewing beef, as in the actual cut of meat, does not come from one specific part of the cow. But it does generally come from areas that are a bit tougher, which means it is typically pretty lean. When cooking a steak, this might not be ideal, but when used in a stew it’s a win-win. The lean cuts are low in fat (a bonus if you’re a bike rider), and since you will be cooking the beef for quite some time, it’ll be plenty tender. Since you’ll likely be cutting the already cubed pieces of meat into smaller bits, it’s easy enough, and always a good idea, to trim any visible fat.
Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the cubed beef to the olive oil to brown and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about eight minutes, until browned on all sides, and remove with a slotted spoon, reserving juices. Once cooked, set the meat aside on a separate plate.
Add the onion, garlic, and ginger to the pot, season with salt, and cook for eight to ten minutes over medium heat—until the onions are translucent. Then add the two tablespoons of flour and stir to combine until the sautйed onions turn into a pasty consistency. Add the stout, bring to a low simmer, and cook for about eight minutes, stirring often, until it is reduced to about half the original volume and pretty thick. Add the cinnamon, allspice, and cumin, stirring to combine.
Next, add the beef broth, then return the browned beef to the pot and add the celery root and barley. Bring the entire pot to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover. Simmer covered for about one hour, then add the cubed yams and cook until they’re soft; about fifteen minutes. Season the stew with any additional salt and pepper to taste if necessary.
A general rule I like to stick by is that a meal is only going to be as good as the ingredients that go into it. The backbone of this stew, and what gives it its unrivaled richness, is the stout. There is no sense in buying a bunch of fresh, seasonal, organic veggies and grass fed beef, etc, etc, then trying to tie your stew together with a mediocre beer. And besides, you’ll likely be buying a six-pack, and will have five beers left over after cooking (unless of course you too subscribe to the “one for you, one for me” philosophy…), so get something you’re going to want to drink. It’s a good excuse to venture down the beer aisle and try something new.
Rasputin to the rescue – If you’re ever bored, look up Rasputin on Wikipedia—hell of a read.
My stout of choice for this stew is North Coast Brewery’s Old Rasputin. When in doubt, it’s Rasputin to the rescue (note: this beer is only sold in four packs. Selling six Rasputin’s together could be putting the consumer’s health at serious risk…).
Make a double recipe of this stew on Friday night, before your next big wintry base ride. And if it’s cold, wet, rainy, or snowing the following morning – that’s all the better. Though it won’t clean your bike when you get back home, it’s at least guaranteed to warm through the chilliest of bones.
About The Author:
Casey is the creator of CulinaryCompetitor.com, a website that provides healthy recipes for athletes who love good food. He grew up in the kitchen inspired by his mom and grandmother, who ran the catering and cooking instruction company, Cooking in the Canyon, in Brentwood, Ca. He received his undergraduate degree in Communication Studies from UCLA, currently races for the NOW-MS elite amateur cycling team.