Belgian Beef Stew with Beer and Spice Bread

amber beer creates another layer of flavor

Beef stew is something I don’t usually get too excited about. But the idea of using bread as a flavor enhancer and body builder for a stew is intriguing. This recipe, Belgian beef stew with beer and spice bread, comes from My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz. It’s an exciting opportunity to cook through David’s remake of French classics in the book, one recipe at a time, along with other home cooks at cookthebookfridays.

I started the honey-spice bread first. Of course, I can’t just make a quick bread. I made a spice yeast bread. I also added more whole wheat flour (to 60% of total flour weight), making it a more wholesome loaf.

The aroma wafting through the kitchen was alluring. My husband stepped into the house. He immediately started asking what’s smelling so amazing. He wanted to know each of the spices used in the bread dough. The splendid brouquet of warm spices of anise seed, cinnamon, all spice, ginger, nutmeg and clove was reminiscent of some mom-and-pop bakeries where all the bread loaves are made on premise. You step in and won’t want to leave. The sweet scent of bread baking in the oven is most welcoming and unforgettable.

I adore this bread with its remarkable taste and a tender crumb. Honey, the other standout ingredient imparts a sweet balance to the assertive flavor of the spices. Using a lighter honey and leavening with yeast (coupled with hour-long fermentation) makes this bread less dense than David’s version. This bread is a true keeper and stands on its own.

There is more; let’s not forget the beef stew. In my opinion, adding beer and spice bread is a stroke of genius, making this an outstanding dish, even in the spring (in the Northeast), when beef stew is not among the seasonal favorites. There are so many pleasing and comforting layers of flavors with this stew. The beef chuck is an inexpensive cut of meat. It was elevated and, ultimately, transformed, after several hours of gentle simmer in the Dutch oven, into a flavorful, tender and heart-warming roast.

to the assertive flavor of the warm spices
honey imparts a sweet balance

 

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26 Comments

  • Reply
    EmilyC
    March 18, 2016 at 6:03 am

    Amazing photos, and I like your writing!

  • Reply
    EmilyC
    March 18, 2016 at 6:03 am

    Amazing photos, and I like your writing!

  • Reply
    Nicole
    March 19, 2016 at 12:26 am

    Your bread and stew bother look great thanks to to your perfect pictures!

  • Reply
    Nicole
    March 19, 2016 at 12:26 am

    Your bread and stew bother look great thanks to to your perfect pictures!

  • Reply
    Teresa
    March 19, 2016 at 7:48 am

    What a beautiful loaf of bread! Gorgeous photos and your description makes me want to make the stew sooner rather than later (I'm waiting for an occasion when I can cook for more meat-eaters than just myself).

  • Reply
    Mardi Michels
    March 19, 2016 at 7:49 am

    Glad you enjoyed this and yes, pretty picture!

  • Reply
    Mardi Michels
    March 19, 2016 at 7:49 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Reply
    sanyaliving.com
    March 19, 2016 at 8:11 am

    I love that this recipe was such a hit with you guys!
    The smells were amazing and your photos look fantastic.

  • Reply
    Renee @ Kitchen Conundrum
    March 20, 2016 at 3:29 am

    Your stew and bread look terrific! Glad you enjoyed this. I know we sure did!

  • Reply
    Piebird
    March 20, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    nice crumb and crust on your yeasted version of the pain d'épices!

  • Reply
    Cher Rockwell
    March 21, 2016 at 1:30 am

    Lovely pictures – it was very clever to add a small dose of yeast to this bread. I am sure it added a lovely texture.

  • Reply
    KB from Prof Who Cooks
    March 22, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    Gorgeous photos and I love the idea of making it a yeast bread…will have to keep that in mind! I'm so glad to hear, too, how much you enjoyed the stew! We enjoyed how different it is.

  • Reply
    Betsy
    March 23, 2016 at 12:11 am

    I love that you changed this in to a yeasted version of the bread. I loved its warm flavors too.

  • Reply
    Mary Hirsch
    March 23, 2016 at 3:45 am

    What an interesting post. I certainly enjoyed reading your thoughts on the bread. I didn't veer off much from the recipe (I never do because I'm not that brave) and loved the Pain d'épices. Yours looks delicious and to go the yeast route is creative, to be sure. Have you taken a look at The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook which just won the Piglet 2016 contest on Food52? You might enjoy the bread recipes which are phenomenal, I understand. Welcome to CTBF's. We'll have a good time with David's book.

  • Reply
    flour.ish.en
    March 23, 2016 at 4:50 am

    I love checking out bread recipes. Now there is another good one to immerse myself in. Thanks for the tips.

  • Reply
    flour.ish.en
    March 23, 2016 at 4:52 am

    You are right about the texture. When I read that the bread is dense, I instantly want to change it into a yeast bread.

  • Reply
    flour.ish.en
    March 23, 2016 at 4:53 am

    Trying a new and different approach of a traditional stew is what I get excited about.

  • Reply
    flour.ish.en
    March 23, 2016 at 4:54 am

    I wish there is a way to capture the aroma on the screen.

  • Reply
    flour.ish.en
    March 23, 2016 at 4:55 am

    Thanks for your comment.

  • Reply
    flour.ish.en
    March 23, 2016 at 4:56 am

    It is a big challenge to take good pictures of a brown on brown stew.

  • Reply
    flour.ish.en
    March 23, 2016 at 4:57 am

    I am not a big meat eaters. But my husband loves the beef part. The stew is definitely his thing.

  • Reply
    flour.ish.en
    March 23, 2016 at 4:58 am

    There is nothing not to like about this stew.

  • Reply
    flour.ish.en
    March 23, 2016 at 4:59 am

    I get really excited about this bread.

  • Reply
    flour.ish.en
    March 23, 2016 at 5:01 am

    The warm color and the taste. Can't get over it.

  • Reply
    Karen @ From Scratch
    March 24, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    I'm intrigued by your changes to the bread…it sure looks delicious!

  • Reply
    flour.ish.en
    March 25, 2016 at 3:37 am

    The yeast bread version is lighter. That's how I like my bread, hence the change.

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