Beef Stew in Dark Beer / Spezzatino alla Birra Scura


The Egyptians are credited with inventing beer. Papyri from around 1300 B.C. called for the regulation of beer shops to prevent the excesses of beer drinking. Since that time, beer has been an ingredient in cooking as well. One of the dishes that I recall from my childhood is a beef stew long simmered in beer, then served over polenta, potatoes, rice, or pasta. It was even better served the next day. I have reduced the original recipe considerably, but you can successfully double the ingredients.


  • 3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 5 tablespoons Filippo Berio Extra-Virgin Olive Oil or lard
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into thin slices
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 12-ounce can dark beer


  1. On a plate, mix the salt and pepper. Add the meat pieces and toss to coat well. Set aside.
  2. In a heavy skillet or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and bay leaf, and cook until the onion is wilted and very soft, but not brown.
  3. Raise the heat to medium-high, add the beef pieces, and brown well.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the tomato paste with the beer. Let the foam subside, then add the mixture to the beef. Stir well, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer, cover the skillet, and cook until beef is tender, about 45 minutes.
  5. Serve immediately.
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