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Beef and Ale Stew



With the dreary weather in the UK seemingly here forever, there was only one dish on my mind to cook last Sunday. Beef and Ale Stew!

I like to use beef shin, as it is a cheap and flavoursome cut that is particularly well suited to stews.

Stew is extremely easy to make with very little effort - only requiring one large pot. I like to cook all the ingredients separately in order to provide extra textures and enhance the flavours.

Beef and Ale stew is a fantastic winter warmer. The shin after the cooking process melts in the mouth whilst still holding its shape. I cook the bones and bone marrow in the same way I cook the shin. The marrow melts into the stew adding delicious flavour and helps to thicken the liquor.

I add Pancetta to my stew to add a subtle smokiness and background saltiness.

Feel free to add other vegetables to the stew recipe, such as swede, parsnip and potatoes. Personally I like to keep it pretty traditional with shallots, carrots and mushrooms.

The beauty of this dish is that it is impossible to make a small amount so there are always left overs for another meal. It also freezes extremely well and is great to pull out when you cannot face cooking!

The flavour of the stew only gets better a couple of days later! We got 4 servings out of the stew, before using up the remainder in a divine beef and ale pie! Nom nom nom!

Beef and Ale Stew : Close Up


Ingredients

for the Beef and Ale Stew [serves 12] :
2 tbsp butter
10 banana shallots
2 slices of Pancetta, cut into lardons. Reserve the rind
1 packet of large mushrooms, halved
3 tbsp ground nut / vegetable oil
2kg of beef shin, cut into 5cm pieces
200 g of heavily seasoned plain flour
1 leek, finely diced
1 onion, finely diced
2 sticks of celery, finely diced
6 cloves of garlic, finely diced
3 carrots, washed, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 x 500 ml bottles of good ale
500 ml of good quality beef stock
large handful of rosemary
large handful of thyme
3 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste


Method

for the Beef and Ale Stew :
1) Preheat the oven to gas mark 3.
2) Add the butter to a large heavy based saucepan or Dutchy placed over a medium high heat.
3) Once the butter is frothing, add the shallots and cook until golden 4-5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
4) Add the Pancetta lardons and cook until golden on both sides, 4-5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and again, set aside.
5) Now add the mushrooms and fry on a medium heat. Depending on the fat content of the Pancetta, you may need to add a dash of oil. Once fried, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
6) Turn the heat to high. Add the vegetable or ground nut oil. I prefer ground nut oil as it heats to a higher temperature.
7) Dust a batch of shin (6-8 pieces) with the heavily seasoned flour. Make sure to shake off the excess, else it will burn in the bottom of the pan. Brown the meat on all sides until a nice dark colour has formed. Remove with tongs or a slotted spoon and leave to drain on kitchen towel.
8) Repeat until all the shin has been cooked off. Now dust the bone and bone marrow and cook in a similar fashion. The bone marrow is a nice addition to the stew, providing flavour and natural thickening.
9) Add the celery, onion and leak. Stir well to get any caramelised pieces off the base of the pot. Reduce the heat to low, and allow to soften for 6-8 minutes.
10) Once the onion is beginning to go translucent, add the Pancetta rind, and then the garlic and cook for a further 5 minutes. The Pancetta rind helps instil flavour and provide a subtle smokey saltiness. Stir occasionally.
11) Add the carrots and stir well. Cook for a minute or two.
12) Return the mushrooms, Pancetta, shallots and beef to the pan. Add the ale and stock and place the fresh herbs on top.
13) Bring to a gentle simmer, before half covering the pot with the lid, and placing in the oven.
14) Cook for 3.5 - 4 hours, until the sauce has reduced and thickened.
15) Remove from the oven, take out the herb stalks and if you can find it the Pancetta rind!
16) Check the seasoning, and serve. I served this with al dente steamed broccoli and mashed potato.

Beef and Ale Stew : Add the butter to a heavy based pot

Add the butter to a heavy based pot or Dutchy

Beef and Ale Stew : Get the butter frothing

Get the butter frothing

Beef and Ale Stew : Add the shallots

Add the shallots and fry until golden

Beef and Ale Stew : Prepare the pancetta lardons

Prepare the lardons

Beef and Ale Stew : Cook the shallots till  golden

Turn the shallots half way and brown the other side

Beef and Ale Stew : Set aside

Set the shallots aside

Beef and Ale Stew : Add the Pancetta

Fry the Pancetta lardons

Beef and Ale Stew : Turn when golden and cook the other side

Turn half way and cook the other side

Beef and Ale Stew : Remove the Pancetta and set aside

Set aside with the shallots

Beef and Ale Stew : Add the mushrooms

Now add the mushrooms

Beef and Ale Stew : Turn when softened

Once softened, turn and fry

Beef and Ale Stew : Prepare the shin

Prepare the shin, cutting into bite sized pieces

Beef and Ale Stew :  Shin cut into 5cm pieces

Shin ready

Beef and Ale Stew : Bones and marrow reserved

Reserve the bone marrow packed bones

Beef and Ale Stew : Season the flour well

Heavily season a bowl of plain flour

Beef and Ale Stew : Fry in batches

Brown off the meat in batches

Beef and Ale Stew : Turn when golden and cook on all sides

Cook the beef on all side

Beef and Ale Stew : Cook the marrow

Finally fry and brown the bones

Beef and Ale Stew : Set the meat aside on kitchen towel

Set the shin aside, on top of kitchen towel

Beef and Ale Stew : Softened the vegetables

Soften the finely diced vegetables

Beef and Ale Stew : Add the Pancetta rind

As the vegetables soften, add the Pancetta rind

Beef and Ale Stew :  Add the garlic

Add the garlic and cook for a further 3 to 4 minutes

Beef and Ale Stew :  Add the carrots

Add the carrots

Beef and Ale Stew : Add the mushrooms shallots and Pancetta

Return the mushrooms, shallots and Pancetta to the pan

Beef and Ale Stew :  Add the beef

Add the beef

Beef and Ale Stew : Add the stock and ale

Now add the stock and ale

Beef and Ale Stew : Add the herbs

Add the herbs

Beef and Ale Stew : Bring to a simmer

Bring to a gentle simmer before placing in an oven for 3-4 hours

Beef and Ale Stew : Once cooked gently stir through with a spoon

Once cooked, remove from the oven, take out the herbs and gently stir through with a spoon. Check the seasoning and adjust.

Beef and Ale Stew : Close Up

Serve with seasonal vegetables

Beef and Ale Stew : Finished dish

Finished dish

Beef and Ale Stew : Close Up

Close Up

Beef and Ale Stew : Top Shot

Top Shot



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