Hello my fun loving followers, I hope you all had a great St. Patrick's Day!
So, here we are, the third week of Homebrew Month! I think we're ready to get down to the nitty gritty and start making our brew! There is a recipe of course and just like in baking, exact measurements, temperature and timing are all extremely important. I was surprised to find how simple the beermaking set up was, as were the pieces of equipment and the actual brewing process. Uncle Jeff used to make his beer indoors on the stove, but with over flows happening quite easily (we had one ourselves!) he decided to move the homebrewing wisely outside!
Cheers, Uncle Jeff! From start to finish, our batch of homebrew took about 4 hours and produced 23 litres of Nut Brown Ale! You might have noticed the thermometer-esque glass vile in the foaming wort. This is a 'hydrometer'. It measures the density of the water and gives you the alcohol level of your brew. I am happy to say that our ale was about 6% to 6.5% alcohol. Not bad! After our brewing was done for the day, Auntie Deb made us a great lunch, which we washed down with some local brew. Unfortunately, our Nut Brown Ale took a month to brew, so we would have to wait to try it... This of course is only the first stage to making beer, I will continue the process when Homebrew Month continues! Here's this week's recipe with beer!
Simple and Tasty Recipe:
Beef, Beer and Mushroom Stew
3 pcs bacon, cut into 1 cm strips
500 gr stewing beef
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, 2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
12 large mushrooms, quartered (cremini or button)
1 bay leaf
2 springs thyme, plus 1/2 tsp thyme, chopped
2 tbsp flour
1 1/4 cup or 341ml bottle dark beer
3 cups beef stock (preferably homemade), low sodium store bought
1 large potato, scrubbed or peeled, cut into approx 2 cm cubes
*1 tbsp parsley, chopped (optional)
In a medium sized pot with a lid (or a Dutch oven), heat on medium and fry the bacon until browned. Remove the pieces with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate and set aside. Leave the rendered fat in the pot and turn up the heat to medium high. Dry the beef pieces with paper towels and when the pot is hot, arrange about a dozen or so pieces of beef on the bottom, making sure they are not crowded. Brown each piece on all sides, lightly sprinkle a little salt and pepper and remove to a bowl. Repeat until all of the beef is browned, adding a little oil if needed.
Reduce heat to medium, add the olive oil to the pot and add in the onion, celery, garlic, mushrooms, bay leaf and thyme. Fry for about 4 to 5 minutes until the onions are soft, making sure to scrape up the brown bits with a wooden spoon so they don't burn. Sprinkle over the flour and cook for 1 to 2 mins more.
Pour in the beer and stock, give it a good stir. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low and partially cover with the lid. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beef is just tender, about 1 1/4 hours. Add in the potatoes and reserves bacon and continue to cook until the beef and potatoes are fully cooked, 15 to 20 mins more. Adjust seasoning, stir in the chopped thyme and parsley (if using) and serve. Enjoy!
Finally, last but not least, I need to share some great news! My cousin Adrian and his wife Laura had a beautiful baby boy named Elliot Benjamin Visheau on March 12. We are all so happy! So, congratulations to the new parents and to Uncle Jeff and Auntie Deb who are now first time Grandparents! Hurray!