A little while ago I had a beautiful Steak & Ale stew and decided that I should try and make my own version. After putting the above picture online and ranting on about how much I loved it I had four different people ask for the recipe. I’m not very good with recipes I have made up myself, being more of a throw-it-in-without-measuring kind of gal but this is pretty much what I did.
500g stewing steak (Mine was pre-cut into 2 inch square cubes-ish and worked well but whole would be fine)
350ml beef stock
10 shallots peeled but whole/2 onions peeled and cut into quarters
1 large carrot cut in half
1 large parsnip cut into 8 with centre removed
1 tsp roasted garlic/2 cloves crushed fresh garlic
1 tsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp tamari/soy sauce
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Marinade the beef in the ale with some pepper for a couple of hours and then remove the beef.
Pre-heat the oven to 150°C
Add the garlic and ale to a heavy casserole dish and boil rapidly to burn off some of the alcohol and reduce the liquid a little, after a couple of minutes add the sugar, tamari and balsamic vinegar and keep simmering for a few more minutes.
Add the meat, shallots, carrot, parsnip and stock to the ale and cover with a lid/foil.
Cook in the oven for 3 hours.
Remove from the oven, stir and turn the heat up to 160°C. Replace in the oven uncovered for another hour.
Once cooked I removed the steak and veggies and put the casserole dish with the sauce in over a very high heat to boil on the hob to let it reduce down to a thicker gravy – purely a matter of taste here as to how much you want to reduce the liquid.
Very heavily adaptable recipe, change the veg or flavourings, add cumin or cayenne for heat, ignore the sugar, increase the garlic – really, anything goes.
I don’t believe in browning meat before putting it into a stew, it’s messy and it never seems to add anything to a dish, if you’re a fan I wouldn’t add flour though and try to use very little fat as it will make the dish too oily.
I don’t really drink alcohol and so my knowledge of ale is woeful, the better quality the better the taste in the overall dish is a good rule to use. Better yet, if you like ale, pick something you know you like the taste of!
It is completely heavenly the next day in a sandwich (see picture!)
I actually wrote this late last night and this morning I saw this article (via his twitter account @StevieParle) by Stevie Parle about the benefits of slow cooking. In a very much related note, keep an eye out for a review of Stevie Parle’s new book in the near future…