Mrs. Jackson Cooks

Life through food

January pick me up: Hearty beef and guinness stew

on January 19, 2011

As you know, I made roast beef the other week, and I had left over beef – which is one of the great things about any roasts.  It was a bit on the tough side (being cheap meat from the supermarket and not from my lovely butcher) so I decided that a stew was the way to go with it.  And it most definitely improved the tenderness of the meat.

Of course, you don’t have to use leftover meat – you could just get some stewing steak or some lamb stew meat or whatever you feel like really.  Red meat is definitely better for this recipe.  I wouldn’t choose chicken or fish.

It was a great opportunity to try a recipe from my new best friend – the Hairy Bikers – and their 12 days of Christmas cookbook.  I had wanted to try it over Christmas but didn’t manage it, and this was perfect.  It’s their Beef stew with guinness and chestnuts with leek colcannon.  Well, I didn’t have any chestnuts and I don’t like leeks, so I put in chestnut mushrooms and made lemon and thyme mash instead!  It was still very delicious though and I don’t consider Guinness to really be alchohol – all that iron – it’s practically a vitamin/mineral!

This recipe also lent itself well to the spice rub I’d used on the roast beef and didn’t clash with it, which was another reason for choosing stew, over curry, for example.  The stew was just delicious and perfect for a miserable rainy January evening.  I did actually make it on the weekend – the long cooking times for stew mean it’s not really feasible for weekdays, unless you work from home and can stick it in the oven on a tea break!

And it went very well with the lemon and thyme mash.  The lemon acted as a bit of a palette cleanser and just lightened the rich tastes of the stew.

The only thing about it was I found it too watery – however, I did use significantly less beef than the recipe stated (as it was what I had left from the roast – but it was 250g which is enough for 2 people), although I used half quantities of everything else – so this might have been a factor.  I’ll give you the recipe for the quantity of beef and veges I used, but will reduce the liquid to the amount I’d use in future.  Then you can scale it up, as required.

Beef and Guinness Stew with Lemon & Thyme mash

Serves 2 (ish)

  • 250g beef (stewing steak is great, or left over roasted meat, as I used), chopped into small chunks
  • 1/2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp oil (I used olive)
  • 1/2 tbsp tomato paste/puree
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 carrot cut into rounds (or I used 5 chanteray (small) carrots which I cut in half lengthways)
  • 1 celery stick, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 (ish) chestnut mushrooms (or any fresh mushroom) sliced
  • 125ml Guinness
  • 100ml beef stock
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • handful of chopped fresh parsley

For the mash:

  • 400g potatoes, peeled and chopped into smallish cubes
  • 80ml milk
  • knob of butter
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tsp dried thyme (or fresh thyme leaves)
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees celsius.  Put the flour, salt & pepper in a bag and shake to mix.  Then add the beef and shake well again to coat the beef in the mixture.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan and when it’s hot add the coated beef.  Fry on a high heat until browned on all sides.  Add the tomato paste, stir well to mix.  Then remove from the pan and place in a casserole dish.
  3. Add the onions, carrots and celery to the frying pan and fry using the same oil on a medium heat (add a bit more, if needed) until browned.  Add the garlic and the mushrooms and fry again for another couple of minutes.  Add the veges to the meat and mix well.
  4. Pour the Guinness and the stock over meat and vege and add the caraway seeds.  Stir well to combine, then cover the casserole dish and place in the oven for about 2.5 hours (I did this for slightly less as the meat had already been cooked once.  I probably did it for about 1 hour 50 minutes – 2 hours in total).
  5. About 30 minutes before the casserole is cooked, prepare the mash.  The Hairy Bikers suggest poaching instead of boiling the potatoes.  Which is essentially simmering the water they cook in instead of boiling.  I’m not sure what difference it makes to be honest – I’ll leave that up to you!  So poach or boil your potatoes until cooked!
  6. Then mash the potato.  When it’s mashed, scrape it to one half of the sauce pan and add the milk and butter to the other half of the pan.  heat the pan on the side with the milk and butter.  Then add salt, pepper and dried thyme.  When it’s just starting to boil, remove from the heat and vigorously stir and mash the potato into the milk and butter.
  7. Then add the lemon zest and mash again until smooth and creamy.
  8. When the stew is cooked, check to see if you have too much liquid.  If you do, you can bubble it off on the hob (I was too scared too having broken several casserole dishes this way!) Then add the parsley, stir well and serve with the mash and maybe even a pint of Guinness 🙂
  9. Enjoy and feel your cockles being warmed!
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