Another poker night, and I'm preparing the food for the occasion. Once again, I'm cooking Beef and Guinness Stew, partly because I want to perfect my recipe, plus the fact that I haven't eaten it since the last poker night, and it always goes down well. Only this time, instead of Garlic Bread (there wasn't any good bread when I was at the supermarket or at the mini-market I went to), I'm doing some hummus and guacamole with bread sticks, celery and carrot.
I realised that I hadn't made any notes about my last stew, so the recipe I was improving on I had to try and remember. The main difference was that I use braising steak instead of the casserole steak which I used last time as the pieces in the various packets didn't look very appetising, so I decided to cut the cubes out myself.
Recipe (serves 4-6)
- 900g (2 lbs) Braising Steak (cut into 2-4cm cubes)
- 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 tablespoons flour
- Salt and Pepper
- Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
- 1 large Onion (roughly chopped)
- 1 clove of Garlic (finely sliced)
- 2 ribs of Celery (chopped)
- 12-15 Shallots (cut in half)
- 600-700g (1.5 lbs) Baby Chantenay Carrots (just with the heads removed)
- 600-700g (1.5 lbs) Charlotte Potatoes (cut in pieces about the size of the carrots)
- 1 pint Beef Stock
- 1 pint Guinness (or similar Stout)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Concentrated Tomato Puree
- 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
- 2 teaspoons Dried Thyme
- 2 tablespoons Fresh Parsley (chopped fine)
Heat up the rest of the olive oil and then seal the seasoned beef in a heavy pan, cooking until lightly browned (about 4-5 minutes) and transfer the beef to a decent sized, heavy cooking pot. The in the same pan the beef was cooked in, add the onion, celery and garlic and cook until the onion is beginning to brown, then transfer this into the same large pot with the beef. Add the carrots, potato and shallots to the beef and mix around.
In the pan everything has been cooked in so far, add the Dijon Mustard and gradually pour in the Guinness, stirring continuously to de-glaze the pan and blend in the mustard. Then add the stock and pour over the beef and vegetables in the big pot. Mix in the Tomato Puree, Thyme, Parsley and some more Black Pepper and add the bay leaves. Cover and cook in a 170 degree celsius oven for at least 2.5 hours, however, you should check the seasoning half way through so that you can add a little more if necessary. Also, if the gravy isn't thick enough for your liking, mix some flour with water and add to the mixture during cooking.
Due to the usual lateness of some of the attendees, this stew was left in the oven for a good 4 hours, and all the better for it I reckon. The beef was extremely tender, with much nicer pieces than the pre-cut stuff. Preparing it yourself means you can ensure that all the pieces are nice.
Although I was expecting it to fill 5 people, 6 people turned up, a few people were still hungry (even after seconds) afterwards and more hummus was prepared. Maybe if you're cooking it for 6 hungry people, you should consider adding more beef and carrots, leaving out the potatoes, and cooking some separately, although I like having the potatoes in there. Thing is, would need a big pan to do that, and I'm not sure it would fit in my current combination oven.