Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The last of the Missouri Mule Piss bites the dust

One of the times we campground hosted in Missouri we purchased a 6-pack of a locally brewed beer. I wasn't real thrilled with the purchase -- the beverage was an India Pale Ale and I've never cared much for IPAs -- but I'm not real keen on beer in general. I figured the S.O. was the person most likely to drink it, ergo, it was his problem if it turned out to be swill. At the time I made a joke or two about maybe the mule on the can was a warning, you know, truth in advertising as to where the liquid originated. The S.O. laughed.

He wasn't laughing long. Holy wah. The Missouri Mule Piss may win some sort of award for the bitterest beer we've tasted in a long, long time. He and the Kid managed to choke down most of it, but one lonely can migrated to the back of the fridge and sat there. And sat there. It became a well-traveled beer: north to the U.P.,  possibly back down to Missouri in the Guppy (we bought it in Licking so got it over a year ago), then back up to the U.P., into the cabin for the second time, and then finally down here to Missouri. We're just too damn cheap frugal to throw an unopened can of beer away. I guess in the back of our minds we were thinking sooner or later someone we weren't overly fond of would visit and we'd inflict the Mule Piss on that person.

I was also kind of thinking that maybe I'd try a Belgian beef stew recipe out of the cookbook I've been working my way through for the past almost 50 years. I got The American Home All-Purpose Cookbook back in 1969 with the goal of eventually trying every recipe in it. Never happened, of course. Never even came close. Still, every so often I open it and decide to try something we haven't had before, like the stew that includes a can of beer as an ingredient.

Today was that day. The Mule Piss is now simmering on the stove and I'm busy hoping that the various other ingredients mellow it enough that the end result is edible. Cookbooks always warn you not to use bad wine for cooking; the same is no doubt true of beer. I decided to live dangerously -- how bad can it be? After all, the cookbook just says "beer" as an ingredient, possibly because back when it was printed in the 1960s you didn't have much choice in what was on the shelves at the local Piggly Wiggly. They don't tell you to go search for an imported beer crafted by monks; apparently ordinary Pabst Blue Ribbon would do. Just for the heck of it, I Googled Belgian beef stew and discovered, of course, that the preferred variety would be a dark ale, not a pale one. Well, at least the Mule Piss is an ale, albeit one without much color.

The American Home recipe:

Carbonnades a la Flamande

2 tbs fat or pure vegetable oil
2 cups sliced onions
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tbs fat or pure vegetable oil
3 lbs chuck or round, cut in 2-inch cubes
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp leaf thyme, crumbled
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 bottle or can (12 oz.) beer
1 envelope granulated beef bouillon
1 cup water
Chopped parsley

Heat 2 tablespoons fat or oil in large kettle or Dutch oven. Saute onion and garlic until soft and lightly browned; remove; reserve. Heat 2 additional tablespoons fat or oil in kettle; brown meat very well on all sides. This will take 10 to 15 minutes. Add onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, salt, pepper, beer, beef bouillon, and water. Bring to boiling; lower heat; simmer 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until meat is tender. Remove bay leaves. Thicken gravy, if desired, with 1 tablespoon flour blended with 1/4 cup water and 1 teaspoon vinegar; add to stew; stir until thickened and bubbly. Sprinkle stew with chopped parsley. Traditionally served with boiled potatoes. Makes 6 to 8 servings.


  1. I man try that recipe.
    the Ol'Buzzard

  2. that looks good..the stew ..not the beer


My space, my rules: play nice and keep it on topic.