A Daily Dinner: Beef Stew with Cornbread

Smith and Ratliff daily dinner of beef stew with cornbread

Originally, I was going to call this dish a chili. Then, I realized that if I called this dish a chili, I would probably never be allowed to return to Texas.

You see, Texans are adamant that chili should never contain beans. Ever. If it has beans, it’s a stew, not a chili. And thus, this is a stew.

Ingredients for Smith and Ratliff's Beef Stew daily dinner

This recipe is an adaptation of a few different recipes, most of which were slow cooker recipes. We don’t own a slow cooker—they’re just not conducive to life in a Manhattan apartment—so I adapted to create a stew that is made on the stovetop, but still has the same depth of flavor as one that spent hours cooking. Like a slow cooker recipe, you basically throw everything in the pot and wait.

In the meantime, we enjoyed the rest of the lager we opened (the stew calls for some), and whipped up a batch of cornbread muffins, cooked to perfection in a cast-iron pan.

Adding tomatoes to a beef stew

Beer, Beef and Bean Stew

Olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 lb. beef stew meat, cut into 3/4″ chunks
2 can kidney beans, rinsed
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
12 oz. lager (Preferably Sam Adams Winter Lager.)
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. chopped chipotle chilis in adobo sauce
Kosher salt
Crème fraiche, red onion and grated cheddar cheese, for garnish

1. In a large pot or Dutch over, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, stirring until fragrant and onion is soft, about 3 minutes.
2. Add stew meat to pot and cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.
3. Add beans, tomatoes, beer, tomato paste, flour, chili powder, chipotle chilis, and 3/4 tsp. salt.
4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about an hour or until stew is thickened and beef is tender.
5. Serve, topped with sour cream, chopped red onion, and grated cheddar.

Cornbread muffins as part of Smith and Ratliff's beef stew daily dinner

Cornbread Muffins

1 c. yellow cornmeal
1 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 c. melted lard, shortening or butter
1 c. buttermilk
1 egg

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl, then mix in lard.
3. Beat egg and milk together and fold into dry ingredients. Add a bit of water if batter is too thick.
4. Bake in greased cast-iron muffin tin for 20 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.

Beef Stew with Cornbread

The cornbread finished before the stew, so we snuck a few muffins while they were still piping hot and slathered them Vermont Creamery’s cultured butter.

Then, once the stew was finished, we piled our bowls high, topping them with fresh red onions, a sharp cheddar cheese and a little dollop of crème fraiche, which balanced out the intense smoky flavor from the chipotle chilis. It was the perfect meal for a gray, rainy day.

– Laura

What We Used: 11-Mold Seasoned Cast Iron Muffin Pan

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