I can’t think of anything more perfect for a hearty and filling meal, especially for meat lovers. I first tried this in a local pub and while the stew itself was tasty, the mashed potatoes used for a topping were so salty, not even my pint of Guinness could help render them edible. Which of course, is yet another reason to make things myself. Controlling exactly what does and doesn’t go in should be reason enough. And… not to worry about any alcohol content, it will be long cooked away with the lengthy cooking time.
This is one of those dishes made for a wintry Sunday afternoon and in fact, could be made in a slow cooker, provided you first browned the meat on the stove top. What a fantastic dish to come home to, after an afternoon hiking or skating.
When browning the meat, be patient with the process – and really get it dark – this will give optimum flavour for the stew. I did not use celery, but would consider adding turnips or potatoes. Fantastic as is, you could also turn the stew into a pot pie – adding either a topper of mashed potato, puff pastry or a savoury pie dough, either in one baking dish or as individual portions.
Guinness Braised Beef Stew
This recipe is from Jamie Oliver. I wonder if his dad made this in their English pub…? He suggests a puff pastry lid on top or, that boiled potatoes and steamed greens would also hit the spot. However you serve it, you’re gonna love the aromas it will fill your house with. If you use an oven proof pot, you could finish the cooking in the oven – making it hands free. This recipe to serve 6.
1 1/2 lb stewing beef, diced
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 heaping tablespoons flour
1 onion, peeled & roughly chopped
1 large carrot, peeled & roughly chopped
4 sticks celery, washed and roughly chopped
2 parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
1 handful fresh mixed herbs (rosemary, thyme & bay) leaves picked
2 1/2 cups Guinness
14 oz can tomatoes
1 pkg puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
Season the beef generously with salt & pepper, sprinkle on the flour and toss around until coated.
Heat 2 or 3 glugs of olive oil in a large casserole type pan and fry the meat – in 2 batches if need be, until golden brown.
Add the onion and fry for 2 more minutes, then add the carrot, celery, parsnips & herbs and fry for another 5 minutes.
Add the Guinness & tomatoes and bring to the boil. Stir, cover and simmer for about 2 hours, until the meat is really tender.
The sauce should be nice and thick with an intensely tasty flavour; check the seasoning for salt & pepper. Remove any bay leaves used.
At this point you could serve it as a stew with mashed potatoes, or it will keep really well for a good 5 days in the fridge – while improving in flavour at the same time.
To make with puff pastry topping:
Preheat the oven to 375º and put the meat filling into an appropriately sized baking dish or dishes – to make small individual pies, any high sided round oven proof bowls are fine. Roll out the pastry, dusting with flour as you go, until 1/4 inch thick. Cut out 6 circles about 1/2 inch bigger than the tops of the bowls. Brush the rims of the bowls with the beaten egg, then place the pastry circles on top, squashing the excess pastry down the outside of the bowls to secure. Lightly score the top of the pastry in a criss-cross fashion and brush with more of the beaten egg. Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 45 minutes, until golden and bubbling.