It’s cold out! When the February snow and wind hit, I like to hunker down with a hearty braise inspired by the land of “Cuisine à la Bière,” served with a vibrant green salad tossed with an orange IPA-flavored dressing.
You may know that Belgium has a long and proud brewing tradition that stretches back for hundreds of years. Beer is so deeply rooted in Belgian culture that it holds the same revered place on the table as wine does in France or Italy, and is used in many of the same ways. Cooking with beer can be a real treat, and this Belgian inspired one-pot meal is one of my favorites to make in the winter, especially on a long, cold, snowy Sunday.
The beer I’ve chosen to use in this dish comes from the esteemed Dubuisson brewery, the oldest in Wallonia (older than most Trappist breweries!). Their flagship beer, Scaldis Amber, is a 12% ABV take on an English Barleywine. It adds both fruity and savory notes to the roast, with flavors of ripe fruit and caramel, along with a hint of herbal hops and licorice. Although it’s high in alcohol, most of that will steam off while cooking, so don’t worry, this is a family-friendly pot roast!
Scaldis is something we regularly carry, but if you want to branch out, any Belgian-style Amber or Dark Ale will do. Some of our favorites for cooking (and drinking) include:
-Rochefort ‘8’ or ‘10’
-St. Bernardus ‘Pater 6’
-North Coast ‘Brother Thelonious’
When it comes to pairing a beer to drink alongside this braise, do we really have to tell you what would go best? Scaldis Amber, of course! If that’s a little too strong for you, any of the aforementioned beers will also work quite nicely.
To learn more about the beer, check out Dubuisson’s excellent website: https://dubuisson.com/en-us, and check out https://dubuisson.com/en-us/our-beers/scaldis-amber for more on the Scaldis.
Belgian Pot Roast
If you’re short on time, skip the steps below and instead use a slow cooker. You can put the whole shebang in on low before you go to work, then add the root veggies and turn it to high when you get home.
4 – 5 pound beef rump roast or bottom round
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
(optional: ¼ tsp Old Bay seasoning or cinnamon for extra flavor)
2 tbsp olive oil or butter
2 large onions, cut in half & sliced into thick half moons
3 carrots, peeled & cut into cubes
1 big sprig of thyme
1 bay leaf
1 12 oz. bottle of Scaldis Amber
A mix of your favorite root vegetables to finish the roast: small potatoes, parsnips, rutabaga, etc., cut into bite-sized chunks.
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Mix the flour, salt & pepper (and the Old Bay or cinnamon, if using) in a big plastic container with a lid.
Heat a dutch oven or deep-sided casserole over medium–high heat.
Dry the roast well with paper towels and put it in the container with the flour mixture. Gently shake it up, down and all around to evenly coat the meat.
Warm the oil and/or butter in the dutch oven until hot (not smoking!). Tap off any excess flour and brown the meat on all sides, a few minutes per side.
Remove the meat to a plate to rest, turn the heat down to medium, and add the onions to all the beautiful brown bits left in the pan. If it seems dry, add another 1-2 teaspoons of oil or butter.
Cover the pot, and sauté the onions, stirring every 2 minutes or so until soft and just beginning to take on some color.
Push the onions to the sides of the pan, put the meat (with any juice on the plate) into the middle of the pan and add the carrots, thyme, a little salt and pepper, and the whole bottle of Scaldis. Mix everything up around the meat, scraping up any bits stuck to the pan.
Bring it gently to a boil, cover, and bake in your oven for about 3 ½ hours.
Meanwhile, scrub your root veggies and cut them into evenly sized chunks – about the size you’d want to put in your mouth after they’re cooked.
After 3 ½ hours, add your root veggies to the pot, stir them up a bit in the sauce, and leave to cook for another 30 minutes or so, or until the meat is falling apart.
Let the roast cool a bit, and eat it with a cold glass of Scaldis Amber!
Orange & Ale Vinaigrette
To complement the rich roast I like to serve a vibrant, zesty salad that also uses beer as a main ingredient. With thanks to Sean Paxton of Home Brew Chef & BeerAdvocate, here’s one of my favorite salad dressings to make any time of year, but especially when I’m missing the sun.
3 oz. IPA (I like any of the following for this recipe: Sierra Nevada Torpedo, Grey Sail Captain’s Daughter, Harpoon Hoppy Adventure, or Lost Nation Mosaic IPA – or just use your favorite)
1 tbsp minced shallot (or half a small onion, minced)
1 tsp grated orange zest
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (bring out the good stuff for this)
Salt and pepper to taste
Put the shallot, orange zest, honey and mustard in a small bowl and whisk in the beer until well combined.
Slowly whisk in the oil, a few drops at a time, until the whole thing is creamy and emulsified.
Drizzle your dressing over hearty greens, or blanched green beans, or asparagus, beets, hard boiled eggs, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc., you get the drift.
The dressing will keep in your fridge for about five days if you don’t eat it all first!