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Here is the recipe - I didn't want to use Beer, any help?

3 lb chuck steak, cut into 2-inch chunks 
***1-1/4 pints Liefmans Goudenband*** 
2 Tbsp peanut oil 
1 oz butter 
1 oz brown sugar 
1 Tbsp freshly grated nutmeg 
salt 
pepper 
3 Tbsp flour 
2 Tbsp tomato purée 
4 oz pitted prunes, sliced 
14 fl oz veal stock 
1 bouquet garni 
1 to 
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard 
2 cooking apples

Instructions: Marinate the meat in 3/4 pint of the beer for 3 days. Lift the meat out of the marinade, reserving the marinade. Heat the oil and butter in a large, heavy-based frying pan, add the meat, sugar and nutmeg and cook over a medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the meat is well browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a casserole and season with salt and pepper.

Stir the flour into the oil and butter and cook until well browned, then stir in the tomato purée, prunes, veal stock, bouquet garni and the beer marinade. Bring to the boil, skim and then pour over the meat. Simmer very gently until the meat is tender, about 1 hour. Stir in the mustard and the remaining beer, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Peel and quarter the apples, add to the casserole and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until the apples are tender. Serve hot.

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If you have a reason for avoiding beer, that might help target recommendations around your actual needs. –  Adam Shiemke Aug 17 '10 at 17:24
    
Non-Alcoholic would be ideal.... –  AttilaNYC Aug 17 '10 at 21:04
    
I hate to be a killjoy, but almost all Dijon mustards contain wine, so you may have to find a substitute for that, too. –  ESultanik Apr 18 '11 at 18:16
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4 Answers 4

No beer!? Hmmm.

Well, I can't think of anything that would give you the same flavor, and as a component of the dish it looms quite large...3 day marinade in beer? No way to replace that, and brown ale is distinctive and nutty.

Beer and wine are natural tenderizers, which is what the marinade is for...They're some of the only ones that aren't acidic (buttermilk and yoghurt are others...Obviously not a good choice here) so filling that role without changing the character of the dish is going to be a serious challenge.

Are you looking for a non-alcoholic substitution, or just a non-beer one?

Since tomatoes and apples feature, you might try marinating in cider or tomato juice (depending on which flavor you want to push). You won't want to marinate for anywhere near the same amount of time: those two are acidic enough to digest your meat after 3 days. Might try apple cider and apple cider vinegar mixed. Vinegar marinated beef has an interesting twang to it.

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If non-alchoholic is the point, would a non-alcholic beer (not that I endorse the taste) plus something to add a bang of flavor work? –  justkt Aug 17 '10 at 17:45
    
@justkt: Not something I pay a lot of attention to, but I've never seen anything but non-alcoholic lager. –  Satanicpuppy Aug 17 '10 at 21:10
    
Wines and beers are acidic! They typically have a pH between 3.3 and 4 (about half-way between vinegar and tomato juice in terms of acidity). Also, in almost all cases, marinades do not tenderize meat; this is a common misconception. I'd quote Harold McGee, but I don't have his book in front of me right now. Therefore, according to Alton Brown, "Even if marinades could penetrate big hunks of meat enough to reach tough inner fibers—and they can't—it would take days or maybe weeks for the work to be done." –  ESultanik Apr 18 '11 at 18:09
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What, exactly, is your reason for avoiding the beer? Is it the availability? It really isn't the same without the use of a Belgian Sour Ale(or the like). There wouldn't be any residual alcohol after cooking the broth.

If availability really is the issue, you could get away with using pretty much any brown/dark ale as the marinade (Though Belgian is preferred. I once made Carbonade using Saison and an Abbey Ale and it was amazing.) Just try to stay away from something hoppy.

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As it turns out all the alcohol doesn't really cook out (I thought it did too at one point) –  vwiggins Apr 18 '11 at 10:23
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Going out on a limb and piggybacking @Satan, almond milk might, I repeat might, do the trick. The unsweetened variety is very nutty, and perhaps if you add some brown sugar or caramel (when you're browning it) you might get 2/3s the way there. Since there's no lactic acid in almond milk I don't know if it would tenderize as well however.

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You might want to try a malta beverage, and then cut back or remove the sugar in the recipe. That would take a good bit of experimentation to be sure, but malta is more or less non-fermented beer. (hopped malt soda) I would say do 50/50 water and malta, or perhaps 40/60.

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