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Guinness Braised Chuck Steaks with Mashed Potatoes: A Winter Dinner

“In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.”

-William Blake

 

I do enjoy winter. Aside from the holidays, which can be as stressful and maddening as they are glorious, there is a natural exaggeration of the contrast between “outside” and “inside,” between the biting cold and isolation of a Michigan winter and the warmth and community to be found at home. There are very few experiences I prefer to that of coming into a warm house after spending time outside shovelling, sledding or taking a walk with the dogs; my body naturally melts into the ambient warmth, and (with a little luck) there can be hot chocolate or a cup of tea in my immediate future.

Its good to come in from the cold, but I can ratchet my pleasure level even higher if there is something delicious in the oven, scenting the house and promising good things to come. Winter is not about the quick, refreshing fruits and vegetable of spring and summer which often require just a knife and maybe a little kosher salt. Winter is a time for the slow, deep flavors that come from long cooking of root vegetables and cuts of meat too tough and complicated to be thrown on the grill. It is a perfect time for braising and stewing, which let you begin with tough (but flavorful) protein and thick, starchy vegetables and end with tender meat and vegetables as well as sauce or gravy infused with the flavors and scents of meat, vegetables, and the aromatics of your choosing.

The main elements of a braise are the searing of the meat to insure beautiful color and to seal in flavor, and the long, slow cooking to break down connective tissue and make the meat silky. As an added bonus, most meats suitable for a braise are inexpensive because they are tougher and less “convenient;” think chuck roast, stew meat and bone-in chicken rather than lean fillets and boneless, skinless breasts.

One of my favorites is this recipe for Guinness-Braised Chuck Steaks with Horseradish Potatoes from the October 2005 issue of “Cooking Light” magazine. I’ve adapted the recipe to make it a little more kid-friendly (no horseradish in the mashed potatoes, alas, and no mushrooms in the sauce) but I’ll give you both my version and a link to the original so you can choose for yourself. Here’s the original. Here’s mine:

Guinness-Braised Chuck Steaks with Mashed Potatoes

(Adapted from “Cooking Light” Magazine)

For the steak:

  1. 1 1/2 pounds boneless chuck steak, trimmed
  2. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  3. 2 teaspoons olive oil
  4. 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
  5. 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  6. 1/2 cup chicken broth (homemade, if you have it)
  7. 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
  8. 1 teaspoon chopped, fresh rosemary
  9. 1 8 ounce package pre-sliced mushrooms (I leave these out)
  10. 1 garlic clove, minced
  11. 2 bay leaves
  12. 1 (12 ounce bottle) Guinness Stout

For the Potatoes:

  1. 2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and quartered (I like Yukon Gold)
  2. 2 tablespoons butter
  3. 1/2 cup skim milk
  4. 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
  5. 1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
  6. 2 tablespoons horseradish (I leave this out of the dish until the end, and stir some into the adult portion)
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  8. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Sprinkle steak with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a Dutch Oven over medium-high heat. Add steak, cook 5 minutes per side, or until browned. Remove steak from pan, and add onions, carrot, 2 tablespoons of broth and brown sugar. Cover, lower heat and cook 10 minutes. Add bay leaves, stout, remaining broth and steak and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 1 hour and 30 minutes or until steak is tender. (Note: this is not an exact science; start testing the meat for tenderness at 90 minutes, but depending on the piece of meat, it may take longer).

To prepare potatoes, place them in a saucepan with water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Drain potatoes and return to pan; add butter and beat with a mixer until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients and keep warm.

Remove steak from pan and keep warm. (I put it on a platter tented with foil). Discard bay leaves. Increase heat to medium high and cook five minutes or until slightly thickened. Slice steak, spoon sauce over it and serve with potatoes.

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About imagineannie

I feel like I'm fifteen - does that count? I'm lots of things, I get paid to be the Managing Editor for a local news publication, and I love my job. I am also inordinately fond of reading, animals (I have four), elephants, owls, hedgehogs writing, tramping in the woods, cooking India, Ireland, England, avocado toast, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, Little Women, Fun Home, Lumber Janes, Fangirl, magic, Neil Gaiman, Jane Austen, YA books, not YA books, classical music, Salinger (OMG SALINGER), Brahms, key lime pie, indie music, podcasts, sleeping in, road trips, marmalade, museums, bookstores, the Oxford comma, BBC, The Miss Fisher Mysteries, birdwatching, seashells, kombucha, and stickers. Not a huge fan of chewing gum, jazz, trucker hats or dystopian and/or post-apolcalyptic fiction (but I'll try anything).

13 responses »

  1. This sounds divine. And I love the way you describe food. Yum!

    Reply
  2. Pooks, welcome and thanks for the kind words! I think my ability to describe food comes from spending way too much time reading about food and, uhm, eating it. The writing about it is the silver lining.

    Reply
  3. I haven’t enjoyed red meat in a while. I think this recipe should get me back into attempting to cook it again. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    Reply
  4. Anne, I hope this helps you enjoy red meat again – its really not my favorite thing unless its prepared in some interesting way. (Eg. not steaks, burgers, meatloaf, prime rib, etc.).

    Reply
  5. Pingback: Menu Planning Week 25 « Forest Street Kitchen

  6. Sounds DeeLish! I think I’ll try making this this evening. Thank you for the recipe. I agree that coming inside to a warm home after shoveling snow can feel so comforting and invigorating at the same time. junemoon

    Reply
  7. Hi junemoon, I hope you like it – let me know!

    Reply
  8. Hi Annie ~ The SO returned from the grosh (aka grocery) w/a chuck blade steak vs the chuck steak. It looks really fatty, do you think it will be okay? For having grown up in the country, I know not much about cuts of red meat… junemoon

    Reply
  9. junemoon, (I hope I’m not too late, but it is three hours earlier where you are). I think you’re fine with the chuck blade steak, although I’d trim off as much visible fat as you can before browning, even if that means you have to cut the meat into chunks to get at the big lines of fat. You’ll also render out some of the fat when you brown it, and if you like, you can pour it out of the pan after you take the meat out and then start the onions and carrots with fresh olive oil. It should taste splendid, maybe even better. If it makes you feel better, I’m making it for dinner tonight and I thought we had a bottle of Guinness, but we don’t, so I’m making the dish with Blue Moon which is COMPLETELY different. If I were cooking for the Queen I’d run out for a 6-pack of Guinness, but its cold and I we’re just going to experiment with what we’ve got. Its all good, except when its not, and then we have grilled cheese. šŸ™‚

    Reply
  10. Hi Annie ~ Thank you! How did your dish turn out last night? Mine turned out yummy. The blade steak turned out to be four thinner steaks stacked on top of each other to look like a thicker steak. I was worried at first but it turned out tasty enough. The flavors were good and rich. Next time when I make it, I will add more fresh rosemary. I also added the mushrooms as the SO loves them.

    My favorite was the potatoes! DeeLish!! Thank you for getting me try something new w/mashed tates. My family loves the kind I usually make w/half n’half, butter, salt & pepper and I always want to try different kinds. They were soooo good.

    Thank you!! junemoon

    Reply
  11. junemoon, I’m so glad you liked it! Our was actually a little dry – I think you may have gotten better results with the thinner cuts of chuck. I think next time I will be sure to turn the meat a couple of times in the liquid during cooking to make sure it stays moist. The potatoes are good, and not such a huge departure that they shock the “milk and butter” crowd around here.

    Reply
  12. Pingback: Beer Braised Chuck Steak « Food By DB

  13. Hi Annie,

    I found your blog through a google search and recreated this chuck steak recipe! I have a food blog myself and wrote about my experience preparing it. It can be read at Food By DB.

    Iā€™m also relatively new to this blogging game and any feedback you might provide on my blog as a whole would be greatly appreciated.

    Cheers,

    DB
    Fremont, CA

    Reply

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