There is something gloriously nostalgic about making a stew, about the way it gently simmers on your stove top all afternoon, about the moment you take the lid off and see that it has somehow worked its stew-y magic while you were out taking a long walk or reading your favourite book. I don’t eat meat or drink alcohol very often, but when I do I don’t like to do anything half-assed. So, we bought ourselves a bottle of organic stout with a catchy name, paid a visit to our local organic butcher to get hold of some premium quality beef, got that stew on the go, took a walk and revelled in the magic.
Ingredients (for 2):
250 g free-range organic (fore-rib) beef steak
250 ml stout (I used Stroud Brewery’s “Big Cat” Stout)
2 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
2-3 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic
2-3 bay leaves
a sprig of thyme
salt and pepper
- Start by dicing the meat. If you come across any tough bits of fat, don’t throw them away! Just chop them a bit more finely and add them anyway. They will melt and help to make the meat more tender and flavourful.
- On a medium to high heat, brown the meat for a minute or so in a tbsp of olive oil. Set aside.
- On a medium heat, melt some butter and add the celery, carrot, shallots and garlic. Sweat for 5-10 minutes.
- Put the meat in a deep pan, add the vegetables, the bay leaves and the thyme.
- Now add the stout. Bring to a gentle boil, then lower the heat, put the lid on and leave to simmer for at least 3 hours.
- Take out the thyme and the bay leaves and season with plenty of salt and pepper. At this point your gravy will be quite runny, so if you want you can lift out the meat and veggies with a slotted spoon, reduce the sauce a bit or thicken it with a bit of cornstarch. Re-add the meat and veggies and heat through for a couple of minutes. Serve with pickles and a bit of bread to mop up the sauce.