5 Feb 2015

Beef and Guinness Stew

When I was a kid, my family nicknamed me "Miss Catastrophe" because I was so clumsy and broke pretty much everything that came into my hands.
I was tiny (my other nickname was "half-pint") but still I found it hard to fit my body and its movements into my surroundings and I would continuously bump into things, trip and fall over, and generally mess everything around.
Growing up, I became over-cautious and managed to almost hide that side of me.

Picture me on a Sunday night, proud of my delicious smelling Beef and Guinness stew served with lovely dumplings and green peas.

A plate in each hand, I crossed the flat to joint The Man in the lounge and tripped on the stairs. From there everything moved in slow motion. The plates broken in a million pieces, tomato juice splattered up to 1m high over the wall, green peas everywhere (we still found some hidden in the room next door a week later), and the stew and dumplings widely spread over The Man's beautiful antique Persian carpet.
Miss Catastrophe always comes back for more trouble!

Beef and Guinness Stew

I adapted this recipe from Jamie Oliver and I like it very much before it is delicious and even easier to make than most beef stew. It doesn't call for browning the meat first, which (although it is very easy to do) I usually can't be asked to do. 
You do have to gently fry the vegs first though, but that's totally fuss free. 
Compared to Jamie's, my recipe calls for more stock and a longer cooking time, to make the beef even tenderer and the stew even better. 
It needs to cook for a long time, but it literally takes 15min to prepare. It also reheat great, so you can make it the day before if you prefer. 
Ingredients, for 4 people
500 g quality diced stewing beef
A pint of Guinness
A pint of beef or vegetable stock
400 g tinned chopped tomatoes
2 sticks of celery
1 medium onion
2 carrots
3 fresh or dried bay leaves
Olive oil
1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
Salt and pepper 

If using the oven to cook your stew, preheat it to 160ºC.

1/ Trim the ends off your celery and chop the sticks. Peel and chop the onions. Peel the carrots, chop into small sticks

2/ Put a casserole pan on a medium heat. Put all the vegetables and the bay leaves into the pan with 2 tbsp olive oil and gently fry for 10 minutes.

3/ Add the meat and flour. Pour in the Guinness, tinned tomatoes. Give it a good stir, then season salt and pepper

4/ Bring to the boil, put the lid on and either simmer slowly on the hob or cook in an oven for 5 hours, adding a little bit of the stock every now and then as the sauce reduce until you’ve used it all and the sauce has reduced to the desired consistency. The longer your cook the stew, the tenderer the meat will become, so it’s worth the wait.

5/ Remove the bay leaves before serving, and adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper if need be. You can eat your stew as it is, or add dumplings to it.

Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver's beef and ale stew

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