Licorice Root and Malt Beer Beef Stew
This is a beef stew whose aromatics are as robust as the beef itself. Balsamic vinegar, prunes, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, rosemary, licorice root and malt beer are added to the stew in stages, and by the time the beef is tender, you've got a sauce that's sweet, herbal and remarkably intense. Mettch calls for cherry or balsamic vinegar -- use whatever you can find; she also lists "macerated prunes" so we covered prunes in brandy an hour before making the stew; licorice root is available in most health food stores; and if you can't find malt beer, use a rich wheat beer instead.
2 pounds beef or veal; cheeks, chuck or foreshank
2 yellow onions
2 celery branches
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup cherry or balsamic vinegar
7 ounces slightly macerated prunes
1 pinch red pepper flakes
4 bay leafs
4 rosemary branches
4 inces licorice root
4.5 cups beef stock or water
3 cups malt beer
Salt and Pepper
Remove all tendons and fat from the meat. If the pieces are very large, cut them into smaller ones. Pat the meat dry, and then season. generously with salt and pepper and let it rest in the fridge for at least one hour, preferable overnight.
Chop onions, celery, garlic and carrots into smaller pieces.
Dredge the meat in flour seasoned with salt and pepper.
Heat the butter in a large and deep pan and brown the meat on all sides. Make sure not to crowd the pan. When meat is browned transfer to a plate.
Add the vegetables and chili and saute until it starts to change color.
Add vinegar to the vegetables and cook until almost all of the vinegar has evaporated.
Add back the meat as well as the prunes, bay leafs, rosemary and licorice root. Finally add stock/water and the malt beer.
Bring to a simmer and skim off any fat.
Cover and let simmer for 3-4 hours, until the meat is tender and falling apart by itself. Skim off fat, should there be some.
Remove the meat from the put and keep it warm. Also remove bay leaf, rosemary and licorice root.
Pass the sauce through a sieve and reduce until you think its consistency is as you prefer it. Add sugar, salt, pepper and vinegar in quantities according to you taste.
You can choose to either add the "old" vegetables or add some new ones to the sauce. In any case, add the prunes and the meat and heat thoroughly.