Classic Beef & Ale Stew
We love our stews at Neil Powell. A quick straw poll around the Herefordshire shop this morning revealed that our staff’s favourite is the classic Beef & Ale.
It’s a tried and trusted Winter warmer, good for a weekend lunch before the Rugby, or a delicious midweek dinner, with the leftovers heated up and popped in a Thermos for lunch the next day.
There are loads of variations, but here’s our recipe:
A good glug of olive oil
1kg Neil Powell Hereforshire diced chuck steak
1 onion, finely chopped
4-5 medium sized carrots, chopped
2 sticks of celery, chopped
2 tbsp plain flour
1 bottle good quality British ale – the darker stuff is best for this recipe
1 vegetable stock cube (or stock powder)
A couple of bay leaves and a finely chopped sprig of thyme
Heat the oven to 160c (140c fan).
Heat the olive oil in a large casserole dish, and wait until it’s sizzling before you add the beef.
Stir until the meat is nicely browned, then tip into a plate or bowl – make sure you don’t waste any tasty juices.
Add the chopped onion to the casserole dish, and stir it around in the meat juices, then cook on a lowish heat until soft and translucent – this might take 10 minutes, and it often helps if you’ve got the lid on. Just make sure they don’t burn – add a bit more olive oil if you need to.
Add the chopped carrots and celery, stir for a couple of minutes, add the flour and stir again.
Put the meat and any juices back into the dish then pour over the bottle of ale. Add the stock cube and herbs, and season well with salt and pepper.
Cover, and put into the hot oven for at least three hours – even more if you’ve got the time. Check it every so often to make sure that it’s not drying out – you can add a drop of vegetable stock if required. The meat should be falling apart by the time you’re ready to serve up.
We usually serve our stews with creamy mashed potatoes and a good pile of locally grown green veg.