Written By: Morgan Ellsworth (@jarg0naut)
Living in San Francisco is a pretty unique experience. We have the coldest summers in the US (seriously), which may seem like a bad thing but when you consider Philly and New York have reached triple digits and humidity above 80, it isn’t all bad. We have the most iconic bridge in the world but also have fog that makes it invisible. Surrounded by water on three sides, the city of San Francisco is only 7 square miles, which makes it easy to get around. Then again, we have some of the most exotic wildlife (read: transients) that live on our public transit system, Muni. In spite of these quirks the denizens of San Francisco seem to get a long relatively well. Except for one particular group. The hipsters. Yes, these assholes. I know that hipsters exist, very prevalently, in many other cities notably Portland and New York. I’m not going to argue which city has the worst hipster virus (cough Portland). In fact I’m not even here to hate on them. I’m here to applaud them…kind of. They enjoy being different, engage in counter culture, are not mainstream whatever you want to call it. Unfortunately they do it to an extreme. Everybody likes being different. Everybody hates this dude. And that is what this article is hopefully all about, doing something a little different but not so much that it is incredibly obnoxious.
Originally, I was going to do your basic cooking piece making Guinness Beef Stew but I couldn’t figure out angle that didn’t make me want to dropkick babies. So I’m going to do a retroactive running diary of me, attempting to make this delicious meat slop and telling you what works at the same time. Here is the recipe I kind of used. Hope you enjoy this little experiment.
7:37pm-8:26pm: My least favorite part of any kind of cooking has to be the shopping. As a general rule anything involving crowds, food I can’t eat until I pay for it, small children and people that are actually happy and smiling make me want to fling feces. Plus I am one of those assholes who reads all the labels so it takes me twice as long as it should.
8:47pm: Arriving home, sweaty, pissed off and sober is not how I want to start cooking. Beer. Lagunitas Pilsner. Sweet snowman Jesus that is good.
8:50pm: Chopping veggies also known as avoiding losing appendages, fingers and/or doing bodily harm to those around. And I didn’t use celery; cause, you know, fuck celery. (Tip: cut your potatoes in half lengthwise, then in thirds widthwise. You’d much rather your guests choke on meat rather than on veggies. Yeah…that was terrible. I’ll go sit in a corner.)
8:55pm: Ok, stew meat goes in a bag, then flour and season liberally. I’m able to not fuck this up save for getting flour under my eyelid some how. Still managed to shake the meat sack without shrapneling the entire room with chunks of seasoned beef.
9:05pm: Time to sear the everlasting shit out of the meat. Unfortunately, my burner looks like this when I really need something like this. So this was a pretty lackluster sear job. Basically, I think I cooked the flour and nothing else. Damnit. (Side note, I actually googled giant flamethrower stove to find an epic picture. Pretty disappointing.)
9:25pm: After warming the meat up, I added the onions and garlic to the pan. I doubled the amount of garlic. Nothing on earth has ever tasted worse with more garlic. I think even the sex addicted wildebeests on the Jersey Shore could tell you that. You can use a normal amount of garlic if you want but I will assume you punch baby animals.
9:31pm: Once the smells in the room makes you want to hump the pan, deglaze it with the beef broth. Simmer. Open another beer. Smile.
9:38pm: After pouring the beef broth-garlic-onion nectar of the gods into the crock-pot, it is almost impossible to mess up. Just chuck everything else you got into the pool and let it ride for eight or so hours.
9:39pm: DON’T FORGET THE GUINNESS (or stout of your choice). This is a beer blog you know, I’d be ashamed if we went on this ridiculous journey together and you messed it up by being incompetent.
8:00am: Wander sleepily over to the cauldron, your concoction a rolling boil, dark molasses in color. Thick and foreboding but warm and enticing all the same time. Finally, almost climatically, a single, solitary tear drips from your eye. Just kidding. Go stir your damn stew. If it isn’t thick enough for your liking, take a quarter cup of water and mix it with two tablespoons of flour. Cook for another fifteen minutes and it should thicken right up.
Serve over rice and with dollop of the crack cocaine of condiments, mayonnaise. (Seriously, don’t knock it till you try it.)
An ideal pairing for this meat feast would probably be a darker beer but you don’t want something too dark as this a pretty heavy meal. You really cannot go wrong with Newcastle Brown Ale or a Boddingtons, which is an enjoyable English Pale Ale. Personally, I’d probably go with an Extra Special Bitter, one of my favorites is Anderson Valley Brewing Company’s Boont ESB.
So to recap, I started out explaining how strange this city is, disparaged hipsters, then praised hipsters (sort of), and tried to (not quite sure how, there is a good chance I blacked out) tie this all together with Guinness Beef Stew. I wanted to avoid the pitfall of doing a boring “here is the recipe, here is step one, step two etc.” piece of writing. I may or may not have succeeded in this cockamamie scheme but the recipe is damn good. Regardless whether the process or execution was a victory, you’ll at least have a fantastic meal. Even if you’re a hipster.
Follow The Smokey Pint on Twitter @thesmokeypint and on Facebook!