Monday, 2 September 2013

Recipe: Beef and ale casserole

In my renewed effort to be more healthy, one of things I've promised myself  is to start eating proper food again. I'm trying to make my meals more balanced and include some decent protein and vegetables. I'd recently got into a rut of eating whatever was in the freezer, favourite pasta dishes, or even worse, takeaways and ready meals. I don't mind them occasionally but it was becoming far too regular for my liking.

So when I felt a bit of a nip in the air on Saturday I decided what we needed was a beef casserole, or a stew if you're that way inclined.

As far as I know the main difference between the two is the casserole is the dish used to cook it in the oven, so presumably if you cook it on the hob it's a stew.

We tucked into this Beef and ale casserole last night and there's plenty left for this evening's meal too.

Beef and ale casserole

Serves 4 to 6 depending on appetite
800g stewing steak (or shin of beef) cut into chunks
2 tbsp seasoned flour 
500g butter
2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 chopped onions
300ml stout (Guinness or similar)
2 tbsp tomato puree
half tbsp sugar
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp dried thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pre-heat the over to 170°c/325°F/gas mark 3

Toss the meat in the seasoned flour. I put the flour in a freezer bag then throw in the meat and shake it
around to dust the meat with the flour.

Put half of the butter and oil in a pan and brown the steak in batches, don't overcrowd the pan or it won't brown. Transfer each batch into a casserole dish.

When all of the meat is browned, add the rest of the butter and oil to the pan and fry the onions until just starting to brown. Add to the casserole.

Pour the stout into the pan, bring to the boil while scraping the residue from the bottom (that's what will give the casserole some extra flavour). Add approx. 200ml boiling water, the tomato puree and sugar and pour into the casserole. Add the bay leaf and thyme, salt and pepper.

Cover and transfer to the middle of the oven for about 2-3 hours. Check to see if meat is tender, adding more water to cover meat if needed. Be careful to remove the bay leaf before serving.

Serve with buttered mash and seasonal veg.

As with all stews/casseroles it tastes even better the next day, so if you're really organised get it made the day before you want to eat it and leave the flavours to develop overnight.

Absolutely delicious, especially now that autumn's in the air.

This post was written in association with Schwartz