Nemacolin Blog
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Brews and Stews – Braise With Beer This Season

As the temperature drop below freezing, kitchens everywhere are heating up with foods that bring warmth and comfort to frigid evenings. A thick and hearty stew may be just what the season calls for, so gather up the essential ingredients – savory beef, seasonal vegetables and of course your favorite brew and get into the kitchen and start cooking.

For a delicious twist on the typical stew, try braising your beef with beer for added flavor and tenderness.

Not familiar with braising? This cooking technique has been around since the 19th century, when stews like burgoo, bouillabaisse and gumbo became popular. Because braising gives even the toughest of meats tenderness and flavor – it’s the perfect way to make less expensive meats delicious. In today’s culinary arena, tougher cuts of meat such as brisket, shanks or short ribs are often simmered in a covered pot with beer in order to make the beef as tender as possible.

Braising Basics:
The key to braising lies in the heat, time and moisture used to cook the meat. When done properly, the connective tissue and collagen's in the meat break down and the flavors of the beef intermingle with the beer broth. Try using a stout or a dark beer to impart a sweet and malty flavor to the beef.

Here are a few tips to help get you started on your very own mouth-watering beef stew:

  1. Begin by seasoning the cut of meat with salt and pepper and lightly coating it with flour.
  2. Heat a small amount of oil in a large pot on medium-high heat. Sear or brown the meat on all sides to seal in the juices.
  3. Add about ½ cup of beer (dark beer or stout) and cover the pan so that steam is contained inside.
  4. Simmer on the stove-top or in the oven at 300 degrees until fork tender.
  5. Serve the meat, using the cooked beer as a sauce or gravy.

You can also use this technique to incorporate beer into other recipes, including chicken cacciatore, braised monkfish, Sheppard’s Pie, goulash and beef bourguignon – a traditional French beef stew. I recommend experimenting with different styles of beer to see which you like best with different types of meats.

Once you’ve beefed up your meat with the juicy flavor of your favorite beer, incorporate it into your winter stew.

  1. Add in your favorite seasonal vegetables – beans, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, and root vegetables such as carrots, turnips or parsnips work well.
  2. Stew them with your newly braised beef in a beer reduction. You can start with one of my favorites, like a Stone Mill Pale Ale, or select one of your own.

Thick stews with hearty pieces of meat and vegetables make the perfect one-pot meal. Aside from being delicious, it also makes for easy clean up! So whether you’re spending a night alone by the fire or cooking for out-of-town guests, a savory and hearty beef and beer stew will be sure to warm up cold nights this winter.

Chef Brent Wertz
Director of Food & Beverage
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort

Jump Start 2011...

Lose weight, eat right, exercise... health related resolutions for the New Year are the most promised and broken. Our Fitness Supervisor, Susan Pelfrey shares some tidbits of knowledge to keep you on the right path towards a healthier YOU in 2011!

  • Increase metabolism through weight training. Train each major muscle group twice a week. Perform 8-10 exercises and 2 sets of 12 repetitions. This will improve your muscle to fat ratio and increase calories burned at rest
  • Hip to waist ratio is a better indicator of heart disease than BMI. Divide your waist measurement into hip measurement. Women should be below .85 and men below 1.0.
  • A healthy diet should include no more than 40 grams of added sugar daily. That is equal to just 6 teaspoons! A 12oz soda contains roughly 8 teaspoons of added sugar!
  • Keep a journal of your exercise and eating habits. Studies show we are 50% more successful of improving lifestyles and losing weight when we write things down.
  • About 70% of overeating is emotional. Food is intended to nourish and fuel our bodies. Learn a new coping skill when you’re stressed, bored or just mad at the world.

Next time you are at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort make time for fitness by visiting our Fitness Center and partaking in one of our weekly complimentary Fitness Classes. Click Here to download the Fitness Schedule.

Susan Pelfrey
Fitness Supervisor
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort

Top 10 of 2010

Already 10 days into the new year and brainstorming and planning sessions are well underway to make 2011 one of the very best at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. But before we completely say goodbye to a great 2010 we wanted to take a moment to look back on some moments, highlights and accomplishments that made our 2010 memorable.

Nemacolin's Top 10 of 2010:

10. Fatbird Flyer Opens
Over 10,000 flights have taken place at speeds of up 60 mph since its opening in
May 2010.

9. Dining Excitement
Autumn goes green, CaddyShack reopens as BBQ Joint,
Tavern re-invents "Pub" menu & much more!

8. Snowmageddon 2010
Over 100" of snow fell in February 2010 alone making it the snowiest month ever recorded at Mystic Mountain. It also brought an extended season.

7. Nemacolin Partners with JEEP
The ultimate off-road experience! The Off-Road Driving Academy now features JEEP Rubicons with Ride Alongs & Instructional Series.

6. Over $70,000 donated to Breast Cancer Research
Through the donated production costs of the "Nothing is Impossible" Brighton Necklace, Pretty In Pink & Battle of the Bird Fundraising Events.

5. Record Setting Year on The Links Course
Most rounds EVER played on course!

4. We Meet The Butler!
Expect the Unexpected at Nemacolin. Our Summer Interactive Campaign -
The Butler Did It welcomed guests to share their own stories through video with a chance to win a Three-Night Nemacolin Vacation Package valued over $2,000! Shh... We hear the Butler will be BACK in 2011!

3. The Prince is Born!
Nemacolin welcomed a rare White Lion, born on July 6, 2010. The population of White Lions is unknown but the most recent count in 2004 revealed 30.

2. Forbes Bestows Five-Star Awards!
Congratulations to Falling Rock and Lautrec for earning Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star awards for 2011! There are 54 hotels designated as Forbes Five-Star, but only 6 resorts in the world boast Forbes Five-Star ratings in both the dining and lodging categories.

A BIG thank you to our loyal guests for supporting our Resort and being a member of the Nemacolin family. Our successes in 2010 are more than anything because of you!