Beef, Beer, and Love
Looking for festive St. Patty’s breakfast fare? Try our Green Eggs and Ham menu!
When I think of cooking with booze, my mind immediately goes to my mother’s beer beef stew. I grew up eating it, my first bite at an age so green I hadn’t yet uttered the word booze or learned that the Irish (my mother’s ancestors) were famous for consuming it. Her stew actually isn’t Irish in origin, it’s French, similar to Julia Child’s Carbonnade. And though it involves beer, it’s also one of the best ways to get someone in bed without getting him or her drunk.
The stew I refer to, which inspired the short rib recipe at hand, is discussed at length in the dating section of our book (now available for pre-order on Amazon!), and has developed some lore (Irish or otherwise) among my friend group. In the book, I talk about how it was the first dish that I made for my ex-boyfriend Will at the beginning of our relationship, and how it became the first dish ever that I successfully executed the first time I’ve cooked for a romantic interest.
My other love, Cara, requested it for her birthday this past October, and it became the centerpiece of the spread I cooked up. One relationship later, Josh and I happened to be going on our second date for coffee while the birthday stew baked in the oven, and the date went so well that he came upstairs and stayed for the whole party. So, as it happened, this beer beef stew was also the first dish that I cooked for Josh.
A few months later, my friend Wendy asked for the stew recipe that she had tasted at Cara’s, and made it for her monthly “girls night” dinner. I told the story of how the dish had inadvertently become the center of my love life. The girls officially dubbed it: “Make-Him-Say-I-Love-You Beef Stew.”
The Beer Beef Stew featured in our book, In The Small Kitchen.
Not to be a tease or anything, but you’ll have to buy the book to see if you are affected by this stew’s side effects. For now though, in celebration of the Irish and their booze, I am giving you a similar recipe using Guinness as the beer and short ribs as the beef, with a few accents I stole from this chicken recipe.
I recommend you give the short ribs a whirl as part of your St. Patty’s Day dinner menu, though if they manage to land you a man, please consider your non-stew booze intake if when you wake up in bed the next morning you find he is uglier than he was the night before.
From my kitchen, where I’m writing my new novel, The Sisterhood of Traveling Stew, to yours,
Phoebe, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
Stout-Braised Short Ribs with Soy and Honey
Makes 2 servings
2 pounds bone-in short ribs
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
12 ounces Guinness (or other stout)
1 cup beef broth
1/4 cup amber honey
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium Dutch or oven-proof saucepan with a tight fitting lid over a high flame. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Brown the short ribs on each side, about 2 minutes per side. Set aside. Pour out the fat, leaving just a thin layer.
Return the heat to medium-low and add the onions. Saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the stout, stock, honey, and soy. Put the short ribs back in. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook in the oven for 2 to 2 and a half hours, until the meat is very tender, but not falling off the bone. Remove the short ribs to a platter or plate. Spoon some of the oil off the top, and taste the sauce for seasoning. Pour the sauce over the ribs, and serve.