It’s autumn my dudes and I could not be happier! Autumn for me means batch cooking ragus. curries, stews, chillies and pies for easy meals when it’s too cold and dark to want to cook.
Being a rather large fan of craft beer, I have decided to use it in this recipe, choosing something a bit different to a standard brown ale or Guinness stout. Nothing wrong with them at all, but with so much to choose from, why not experiment? I would suggest picking up anything that uses chocolate or cocoa as its main flavour, chocolate and beef are a bit of a match made in heaven for me.
The resulting stew is a thick, unctuous and glossy, perfect for slipping between some pastry sheets if the feeling takes you, or served with cheesy, herby suet dumplings, buttery mash and green beans.
Beef wise, anything that requires a long cook is great, most supermarkets have “stewing beef” which needs a good few hours at a low temp to relax and become succulent and yielding. I was lucky enough to win (amongst other things) a 500g pack of stewing beef from Meatbox, if you’re in Bristol do drop in. They are fantastic. I always bulk my stews out with a ton of onions and veggies and use less meat, it makes it affordable for me, up the meat if that’s your jam.
You will need;
- 500g Stewing Beef
- 330ml Stout Of Choice (I used Space Time Stout, with cocoa, tonka beans and vanilla)
- 1 Large Spanish Onion
- 4 Carrots
- 3 Tblsp Tomato Pasta
- 2 Beef Oxo Cubes
- 2 Tblsp Honey
- 6 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped (let’s not pretend that anything less than half a bulb of garlic is acceptable)
- 1 Tblsp Dried Mixed Herbs
Preheat your oven to around 130c
Add some oil to a pan on a medium – high heat and fry off your beef in batches. You want the beef to caramelise and brown without overcrowding the pan. remove and place to one side once done.
Whilst you are browning your beef, dice your onion into small chunks and your carrots into large chunks. Once your beef has been removed, add the veggies to the pan and soften. The moisture from the beef will help soften the veg and the flavour left in the oil will make everything smell and look delicious. Once softened, add your garlic and stir through.
Once the veg has some colour on it and the onions look a little translucent, add your tomato paste and cook it out. My method is to make a gap in the pan, add the tomato paste, leave for up to a minute then stir into the mix. Add the honey and stock cubes, then the beef and herbs and give it another good stir.
Pour in your beer of choice and bring the whole thing to a boil. Once bubbling away happily, wack a lid on it and pop in the oven for around 3 – 5 hours, taking it out every hour or two for a stir and a check. If you overdo it (as I did by going out on the piss and forgetting to ask my BF to take the stew out) you can let it out with some boiling water, added slowly and stirring until its the consistency you want.
This freezes really well (I freeze in portions of 2) or will keep in the fridge for about 4-6 days in an airtight container.