The New England winter just screams out for hot, comforting food. Especially when it’s grey and raining – like yesterday. In fact, the thought of a decent home-cooked stew just enhances my view of the cold months. Great hearty food…the fire roaring,…plenty of red wine…
Give this recipe a whirl and I promise it will give any bad-weather day the heave-ho.
Please don’t be put off by the cooking time. This really doesn’t take long to put together. However, it does need substantial oven time. I’ve often cooked this in a slow cooker (but I haven’t got around to replacing the Crock Pot I used in England). If using the slow cooker method, you’ll want to reduce the amount of liquid – you can omit the stock for a start! It still works a treat.
Whether using a conventional oven or slow cooker; if your stew is too thin at the end of cooking, then put it on the stove and allow the liquid to reduce down and thicken. Additionally, if your stew is a little thick during cooking time then add a little extra water or stock.
Recipe (serves 4):
1lb of stewing or chuck beef
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 sticks of celery, finely chopped.
1 large carrot or 2 medium carrots, diced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1heaped tablespoon of all-purpose flour
400g crushed or plum tomatoes
1 can of Guinness (around 500 ml). You could also use ale.
250ml of beef stock or bouillon
1 bay leaf.
Salt and pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 370f.
Meanwhile, start making the stew. Over a medium-low heat, heat a good few lugs of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed casserole dish.
Add the onions, celery and carrots and fry gently for around 10 minutes or until soft. Do not allow to get too brown. A minute or two before the time is up, add the crushed garlic and gently fry.
At this point throw in the chunks of beef and fry for a few minutes before adding the flour. Stir.
Next add the Guinness, the canned/tinned tomatoes and beef stock.
Bring to the boil. Then pop in a bay leaf and add a good pinch of salt and a few twists of black of pepper. Give it a good stir and put in the oven for three hours.
I like to check the stew after 2 hours – just to check the consistency – and put it back in the oven for the remaining cooking time.
Once your beef is tender and your sauce perfectly reduce, taste and adjust the seasoning.
Serve with mashed potatoes and green veg.