For me the cooking of stew celebrates British winters, when the deep smell of stew fills your head you know you are firmly in winter’s grasp. There is nothing that warms you better than a huge bowl of this stew and a heap of mustard mash potato. With its honey stickiness and beer undertones not only does it warm you up but it tastes incredible too.
You may be asking why I called it a British Stew, well almost all the ingredients with the exception of the paprika come from somewhere in Britain; Welsh honey, mustard from our local farm-shop, local beer, rosemary from my herb garden and of course beef from the local butcher. This dish celebrates Britain but you can use whatever ingredients you can get hold off in your own country.
Finally you might be asking why I called it brilliant, well cook it and you’ll see why.
Ingredients to serve 4
700g of stewing beef cut into bite-size chunks
10 small shallots, peeled
10 baby carrots, peeled or 2 medium carrots, diced
4 tablespoons of plain flour
250ml of beef stock
1 tablespoon of redcurrant jelly
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
3 rosemary sprigs
500ml of Bitter Beer (I use Hook Norton Hooky Bitter)
1 tablespoon of paprika powder
1 tablespoon of honey (the thicker the better)
Salt and coarsely ground pepper
First things first, preheat the oven to 160°C (140°C fan/325°F/Gas 3). Meanwhile, put your casserole dish on a high heat and put in a large glug of oil and quickly brown the beef all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. You may need to do this in batches, but don’t panic.
Next throw in the shallots and carrots into the pan you just used for the beef and allow them to cook in the oil and beef juices until brown. Add the flour and stir to coat the vegetables, and then add in the beer and beef stock slowly making sure not to make the beer foam up too much. Now add the redcurrant jelly, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, paprika and honey ensuring that the honey melts and mixes. Add salt and pepper as you see fit and finally put the beef back in the pan.
Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and cook in the oven for 2 – 2 1/2 hours or until the beef is tender. Make sure you check the stew every 45 minutes to make sure it doesn’t accidentally dry out, if it looks too dry add more beef stock or beer.
Serve, Eat, Enjoy.