|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|