I was suffering from a major case of the lazies yesterday. I could try to blame it on being pregnant, in the same way that I gave myself full permission to wear sweatpants every single day since the day I got that positive test. But, the truth is that sometimes a case of the lazies just strikes out of nowhere and you can either fight it all day or just submit. Thankfully, this particular strain of lazies seems to have been contagious. The boys were equally content to snuggle on the couch with me for a good part of the day, watching an endless marathon of Nick Jr. and Disney programming, which would have been more tolerable if Nick Jr. weren’t airing the video of Big Time Rush’s, Big Night, during every single commercial break. I’ve heard the song so many times now, that it’s become the ongoing soundtrack in my mind and I’m almost convinced I actually like it. DJ, take me away… At one point, I muttered aloud about the song being stuck in my head, to which my three-year-old attempted to manually remove it from my mouth. Kids are so hysterically literal.
But, the family needs to eat, even on lazy days; perhaps, especially, on lazy days. Gathering the motivation to prepare a meal was a challenge, but I had the perfect, sleepy winter-day meal in mind. I’d picked up a tray of stew beef earlier in the week, with only a framework of a plan in mind; some sort of slow cooked beef over hot buttered noodles. Perhaps a stew of sorts? Only, I’m not really a big fan of stews. I love the tender chunks of meat, but can totally skip the thickened broth or the mushy carrots and potatoes which are typically found in a beef stews. Now, braised beef, on the other hand, with its equally tender chunks of meats and rich, comforting sauce, is an idea I can wrap my mouth around.
The actual preparation time for this recipe is minimal. The ingredient list is pleasantly restrained. The technique is simple. Once it’s in the oven, just sit back and let your house fill with the scent of warm, beefy goodness. We’ll start with some chunks of beef. Many grocery stores will sell packages of pre-cut meat labeled simply as Stew Beef. I used a package of lean, no external fat, stew beef. You can use just about any cut of beef, but tougher cuts, such as beef chuck or round work particularly well for braising. The beef is quickly browned on the stovetop, then combined with braising liquids, covered, and slow-cooked in the oven. Towards the end of the cooking time, we’ll throw in a bit of vegetables. I stuck with pearl onions and mushrooms, but you can adapt the recipe to your tastes by adding any variety of vegetables. Potatoes, carrots, green beans, or peas would all work nicely.
The end result is a comforting mix of tender chunks of beef coated in a thick, flavorful sauce served over hot buttered noodles. Perfect, lazy-day comfort food.
- 2 pounds Stew Beef
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 3 Tablespoons Flour
- 1 1/2 cups Beef Stock
- 1 cup Guinness Draught (or additional beef broth)
- 2 cups Mushrooms, sliced
- 1 1/2 cups Frozen Pearl Onions, defrosted
- Salt and Pepper
- Fresh Parsley, for garnish
- Hot, Buttered Egg Noodles
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large oven-safe dutch oven pan over medium heat. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Add the beef to the pan and cook for a few minutes to brown on all sides. (Do not overcrowd the pan. You want to beef to brown quickly in the oil. If necessary, brown the beef in batches.) In the pan, sprinkle the cooked beef with flour. Stir to evenly coat the beef in the flour. Cook for a minute or two. Add the beef stock and Guinness. Bring to a boil. Simmer for about two minutes. Cover the pan and place it on the middle rack in the oven. Cook for about 2 hours. During the last 30 minutes of cooking time, add the mushrooms and onions (or your vegetables of choice). Remove the cover during the last 15 minutes of cooking time to help the sauce to reduce and thicken. Remove from the oven and season with a good amount of salt and pepper, to taste.
Garnish with fresh parsley and serve over hot, buttered egg noodles.
**Tip** If you do not have a large, oven-safe dutch oven pan, you can start the recipe in any pan, up to and including the simmering step, and then transfer the mixture to an oven-safe pan or baking dish. Use something with a tight-fitting lid or securely cover the dish with foil before placing it in the oven.