Beef and Onions Braised in Beer

One of Norman’s favorite meals was Beef and Onions Braised in Beer. Patty loves this one too and I haven’t made it since Norman died. This next week Patty will be camping at a Blue’s concert and needs to take some food with her so it isn’t as expensive to eat and she likes her own home made stuff better than the fast food take out, also healthier for her. After Norman’s by pass surgery we had to watch what he ate and I had to adapt all his favorite recipes so they were safe to eat. It really did work as the doctor said he would be back for another clean out in seven to ten years. Norman said no way so he watched what he ate faithfully and he went 24 years. For the first six he went for tests to a doctor and took their pills but then worked off the pills slowly until the last 12 years he didn’t take any pills and didn’t even go to a doctor. He still had heart problems, once you have them, they are always there but with good living they don’t bother you. He knew that one day his heart would catch up to him and he decided when it did he would just let nature take it’s course. No more pills and no more operations. At 84 he decided he could no longer cut down trees, build barns or sheds alone and keep up the pace needed to run a farm so we sold the farm and moved to our condo in Florida where we had been spending three months in the winter for the last six years. Once there he gave in and went to the eye doctor and had cataract surgery so he could see enough to pass the eye test to get a driver’s licenses but even though he could now drive legally he still had some trouble seeing well and by then he had trouble hearing too but would not get a hearing aid so I went everywhere with him. He told the doctors I was his eyes and ears so needed to be with him everywhere. He had been having shots in his left eye for about 7 years. A shot every month for the first four years then every other month. He lost the sight in his right eye about 12 years earlier from wet macular degeneration and at that time the only cure was to laser it and burn the vein to stop the bleed and that took out his central vision. So when he got the wet macular degeneration in his left eye he went to the doctor and by then they had a shot right into the eye that would stop the bleed and keep your sight but it was not a cure, only stopped the progression and if you didn’t go for the shots the bleeding came right back and destroyed the retina. So he did go to that doctor all those years.
When he first had his heart operation he was told to walk 2 to 3 miles every day to keep his heart healthy. He did this faithfully. In Florida it was no problem to walk 3 miles each morning, it was flat. But when we moved to Georgia and again in Tennessee we were in the mountains and he could not go 100 feet without meeting a hill so his walk there was a little less than 3 miles but he still went out every day, rain or shine. When we retired to Florida in 2014 he still walked 2 miles every day until some where in 2017. He stopped walking because he said he was getting dizzy and didn’t want to pass out too far from home. He walked just the same but around the complex and not so fast. I asked if it was his heart, did he have any pain. NO NO it was his blood pressure. He always had fairly low blood pressure and when it got lower he would get dizzy. I found out later it was not his blood pressure, it was his heart but he had made up his mind he did not want to spend his last years in a wheel chair with me or anyone else waiting on him. He wanted to go as long as his heart could take him and then leave. I watched him for a few months in 2017. I think I knew what he was doing but would not admit it to myself as I know I would have nagged him into going to the doctor and going under the knife again. I think I knew I had lived this long only because he was with me and needed me. I had been sickly all my life and we all knew I would die long before Norman. If I really admitted what he was doing and talked it out with him I would have let him live his life as he wanted to. I had always done that and hope I would have had the courage to do it then but instead I just believed him when he said no there was no pain in his chest and he would be alright if I just let him rest a minute. When we went to bed on Oct 29th he said he was dizzy and his head hurt. I wanted to get him something but he said no just leave him alone a minute and he would be fine. Does your chest hurt was always my question first and he assured me it was not his heart there was no pain. Long story short after an hour of my pleading to let me call someone to help he agreed it was time so he let me call 911. When they got to the house I told the medics it was a heart attack and their first question to him was is there any pain in your chest and he said Yes. I did a double take on that and when he said it was about a 7 I could have strangled him right then. The medics stabilized him and had to help him up because they could not get the stretcher into our bed room. When they got him to his feet he didn’t want to go. He said he felt much better and they could leave, but they refused and he went to the hospital but it was too late to do anything to keep him alive. He had gone the way he wanted to and I was still here. Why? I have been struggling with that question for over a year and now decided it doesn’t matter why, it is! so make the best of it Baby!!
Today making the Beef and Onions has brought it all back to me. He always helped me make this as there is so much prepping to do. So instead of his being here to help me I needed to stop and rest my back after getting the things ready to cook and I have spent this time remembering Norman, wishing he were here and knowing now he can’t be as he would never have wanted to be just an observer of life. He lived and died as he wanted and I am so thankful to have been a part of that life for 67 years. Now my back is better and I’ll go on cooking but first I’ll show you what I have done so far.
The recipe for this is in my cook book on page28 for those of you who still have my book. That recipe is for two people so I had to increase everything to make it for this family.
First step is to collect every thing on the list to be sure you have everything. this is it I am using 3 pounds of stew beef, we used to use eye of the round cut up into cubes because there is almost no fat on eye of he round. It is a tougher meat so needs a recipe like this to make it tender enough for us old folks to eat. next is 12 cups of sliced onions these are great for building up your immune system, about 6 tablespoons of olive oil, more if needed same with the flour and for me I have to use a gluten free flour. Three cups of chicken broth or bullion again I use a salt free chicken bullion as anyone with a heart problem needs to keep the salt down and regular bullion is loaded with salt so I never use that, if I want salt I add it later. two bottles of beer and I use a gluten free beer as both Patty and I are gluten sensitive, three teaspoons sugar, three tablespoons vinegar, four teaspoons fresh chopped garlic three teaspoons ground thyme and three tablespoons dried parsley. salt and pepper are added as you cook to taste. Patty loves pepper so has to add lots at the end, Tyler likes more salt than we use so he adds more at the end.
The you start prepping. Measure out the spices and other things. mix the bullion, slice the onions, here is where I really miss Norman. and get ready to cook. I had to stop and rest my back at this point. All rested now so will get cooking. I am putting it into the slow cooker as there is so much it is too much for my oven pan and I do want it to cook long and slow. Then it will be ready to eat when ever they get home from work, some eat as early as 6:30 while others don’t eat until 9 pm in the slow cooker it is ready whenever they want to eat and the left overs can be reheated whenever.
I’ll be back and let you see how it is done.
I had to take the biggest fry pans I have here. My great big one that would have handled all the onions I no longer have so I used the biggest one I had and cooked 1/3 of the onions at a time. Fry until transparent but not browned, put it into the slow cooker. At the same time I took my big granite fry pan and browned the meat again I could only do 1/3 of it at a time and put it into the slow cooker on top of the onions. Doing it in thirds like this I just layered them in the cooker and thus didn’t have to try and stir it when I put the cover on.It is hard to see but the steam was pouring out of both pans and everything cooked great. 2 out of the three and the pot is about as full as it should be. The last pan of onions was still cooking and I did want to get them in if I could.
Once the meat was done I used the drippings and extra oil from the meat and made the sauce and put that into the cooker. As you see the cooker is really too full but I put the cover on and put it on low and prayed it doesn’t bubble over. I could only put in one battle of beer but the recipe says as it cooks the liquid will build down and if it does add more beer so that is what I will do and if it doesn’t need more liquid later I’ll drink the beer myself!!
Then comes the part where I miss Norman the most. I have always loved to cook but with Norman retired he was always my chief bottle washer. So when I finished with a dish like this he was right behind me washing my dishes and by the time I put the dish in the oven the kitchen was all cleaned up. This time I had to do my own dishes and there were tons of them. I washed some while the onions were cooking because in these small Florida kitchens if you don’t wash a dish as soon as you are done with it, there just isn’t room enough in the kitchen to cook. I started this project at 8am and didn’t finish washing the dishes until 11:35. Long day and of course by then it was time to start my lunch. I had taken out a frozen chicken breast to have for lunch. That was long before I knew I was to make the Beef and Onion so while I was finishing up the clean up I took the chicken out of the frigh and got a bowl to make the sauce I was to let the chicken sit in for half an hour before cooking the “Chicken and Walnuts”. I finished up the dishes and went to do the chicken and ran smack into Norman again only this time I laughed out loud. Always when I was working like this in the kitchen Norman would be cleaning up as I worked and when I took out a dish to start the next thing most of the time he would take the dish before I got to use it and wash that too and today when I went to take the dish I had set out to the chicken in I couldn’t find it and sure enough I had taken it and washed it. I felt right at home, I knew Norman was there with me.
Now it is time to cook lunch, it is about an hour late but after all that cooking I am not at all hungry, but then I am not usually hungry for I hate to eat alone. Have a good day. Talk to you again tomorrow and maybe then I won’t be so long winded.

About Carol (Ouma) Petts

I am a retired teacher. I have taught all levels from kindergarten through college and have been retired now for over 20 years. The last ten years we have lived on a farm and lived off the land, growing our own food and canning for our extended family. Now we have sold the farm and are moving to Florida to truly retire. I guess I have always had a short attention span as this is our 11th move. We have moved from a small farm in New Hampshire, to more city type living, small business adventures, focusing more on traveling, Florida living, Georgia, and Tennessee farming and now back to Florida. My blog is a way to keep my children up to date on what I am doing and letting them know I am still alive and well. My children are spread across the country from New England to Florida, Nova Scotia to New Mexico and CA and several places between, They let me know what they are up to by commenting on my blog but they are so busy with their own lives most times I have to assume " no news is good news". Now I are starting on a new adventure so will try to give daily updates until we get settled into a routine. Then I know even if I am getting older and should settle down I will start looking for some new and exciting adventure to start. Welcome aboard. Norman died Oct 30, 2017 so I am continuing the journey alone with the aid of my children, grand children and great grand children. At present I am living with my daughter and we are 7 in one house and cover four generations. We range in age from 7 to 85 and are finding common ground, we are living proof that multi generations can live and function in a three bedroom house if they really want to. Soon my grandson will have his house built next door so we all will have a room of their own except for the seven year old twins who by choice will share a room.
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2 Responses to Beef and Onions Braised in Beer

  1. Shanti Kaur Khalsa says:

    What a wonderful rememberance, Mom.

    On Thu, Apr 4, 2019 at 10:38 AM Oumapetts’s Blog wrote:

    > Carol (Ouma) Petts posted: ” One of Norman’s favorite meals was Beef and > Onions Braised in Beer. Patty loves this one too and I haven’t made it > since Norman died. This next week Patty will be camping at a Blue’s concert > and needs to take some food with her so it isn’t as expensiv” >

    • My life is full of happy wonderful memories now. I am so glad I had so many years to make these memories, they will take me thought the rest of my life. You are front and center in many of these wonderful memories, I have been bless with a wonderful family. Mom

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