Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Beef in ale stew

The recipe below is 'Jools Favourite beef Stew' from Jamie's dinners. I very loosely based tonight's meal on this recipe. I used ale instead of red wine and only had sweet potatoes and carrots to use.  What I'm saying is that you can chuck anything in a beef stew, add some wine or beer and after a few hours of cooking it's going to taste good. I should have added the sweet potatoes half way through the cooking as they were a bit too soft and I have just realised that I forgot the stock which is why it was a wee bit dry tonight. I have followed this recipe exactly before, it's an excellent stew to do for a big group lunch. As there is no browning of the meat first, it's reasonably quick to prepare. Once it's in the oven you can put your feet up and relax. 

Serves 6

• olive oil
• a knob of butter
• 1 onion, peeled and chopped
• a handful of fresh sage leaves
• 800g stewing steak or beef skirt, cut into 5cm/2 inch pieces
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• flour, to dust
• 2 parsnips, peeled and quartered
• 4 carrots, peeled and halved
• ½ a butternut squash, halved, deseeded and roughly diced
• optional: a handful of Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and halved
• 500g small potatoes
• 2 tablespoons tomato purée
• ½ a bottle of red wine
• 285ml, beef or vegetable stock
• zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
• a handful of rosemary, leaves picked
• 1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 160ºC.  Put a little oil and your knob of butter into an appropriately sized pot or casserole pan. Add your onion and all the sage leaves and fry for 3 or 4 minutes. Toss the meat in a little seasoned flour, then add it to the pan with all the vegetables, the tomato purée, wine and stock, and gently stir together. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper and just a little salt. Bring to the boil, place a lid on top, then cook in the preheated oven until the meat is tender. Sometimes this takes 3 hours, sometimes 4 – it depends on what cut of meat you’re using and how fresh it is. The only way to test is to mash up a piece of meat and if it falls apart easily it’s ready. Once it’s cooked, you can turn the oven down to about 110°C and just hold it there until you’re ready to eat.

The best way to serve this is by ladling big spoonfuls into bowls, accompanied by a glass of French red wine and some really fresh, warmed bread. Mix the lemon zest, chopped rosemary and garlic together and sprinkle over the stew before eating. Just the smallest amount will make a world of difference – as soon as it hits the hot stew it will release an amazing fragrance.


  1. Massive yum-yum. You are on a roll, pet. Cooking on gas as they say

  2. You need to cook at least one meal from the blog and report back.

  3. Ha ha, there's a challenge...