Sunday, January 8, 2012

beer-braised beef with onions, roasted kabocha squash, brussels sprouts with bacon

We're big fans of meat and beer in this house. Meat and beer, beer and meat. Once in a while I cook meat IN beer, and that makes my husband pretty happy. Today was one of those occasions.

Sorry for the blurry picture - part of the blur is steam, and part of it is from my camera not being able to focus on brown food on a brown plate. I should have known better. ;)

The roast I used was a 2.5lb bottom round roast. The bottom round cut is down on the cow's back leg. This muscle sees a lot of action, of course, so it tends toward leanness and can be tough. One way around this is to roast it and keep it quite rare - another is to braise it, which is what I decided to do.

I liberally seasoned the roast with kosher salt and black pepper, then browned it for a couple minutes each side (including the edges) in a Dutch Oven with a mixture of olive oil and bacon drippings. Once the meat was nicely browned on all sides, I removed it to a plate, then dumped a bunch of sliced onion and garlic into the pot. I let the onion and garlic cook for a minute or two, then added two bottles of Wolaver's Brown Ale, a little salt, some rosemary, and added the roast back in. I covered the pot tightly and turned the heat down to low. It simmered for about two and a half hours, total. By the time it was done, it shredded easily with two forks! The onions cooked down in the beer were spooned over the top of the meat for serving.

For the Brussels sprouts, all I had to do was clean and trim the sprouts, cut them in half, and spread them in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. I chopped up four slices of bacon and added it to the pan over the sprouts, and put the whole thing in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.

The kabocha squash was a little more work. It has seeds that need to be scraped out, then I pared the skin off, sliced the squash into slices, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper, and laid them out on a foil-lined baking sheet. These went into a 450 degree oven for 30 minutes, flipping them over halfway through. They came out crispy on the outside and creamy inside, and were really quite addictive.