Tuesday, 15 February 2005

Boozy Beef

We've been hankering for some beef stew for quite sometime. But not wanting to make mechado again, I rummaged thru my magazine cutouts to try out a new recipe. Out came this stew with lots of stout beer and mushrooms. This is adapted from Sophie Grigson's that was posted in The Sunday Times Cookery Cards. I don't have a clue on what year this came out.

Beers are very broadly classified to ales and lagers. Under types of ales is stout beer which is characterised by its dark colour and foaminess. Good examples of this are Guinness, Murphy's, and Mackeson's XXX. It is best served chilled not ice cold. The dark color comes from the large proportion of roasted barley in it. It is said that Guinness is proven to have a lot of therapeutic value. Even my own GP (doctor) strongly suggested to me to drink it regularly when I became anemic after my last childbirth because apparently it is very rich in iron. That news was well received by my husband who promptly went to Tesco's and bought several packs of the thing. Although it was technically for me, I distinctly remember he drank more than I did. ;).

This recipe is very easy to follow and once you've put them all in a casserole in an oven, you can put your feet up and wait in your merry way. The resulting dish was quite good although I think it lacked something. Maybe I would add some Worcestershire sauce next time. Actually I spied another similar recipe with less beer and more flavourings and veggies so maybe I'll try that later.

Beef, Guinness and Mushroom Stew

1 kg  shin of beef (or any stewing cuts) - sliced into 1 1/2 inch cubes
seasoned flour
1/4 cup butter
2 Tbsp oil
2 onions - roughly chopped
125 g  button mushrooms
720 ml (1 1/4 pints) Guinness or other stout beer
2 Tbsp double concentrated tomato puree (tomato paste)
1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 bay leaf
bouquet garni
225 g  fresh shiitake mushrooms (or any flat fleshy mushrooms) - sliced thickly
1 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 170°C/fan 150°C/325°F/gas mark 3.
  2. Toss beef in seasoned flour. (Seasoned flour is all purpose flour mixed with salt and ground pepper. Suggested proportion is - 1/2 cup flour + 1/2 tsp fine salt + ground pepper).
  3. Heat a third of the butter plus 1 Tbsp oil in a frying pan and brown the meat briskly in batches, adding more oil if needed. Transfer in a oven proof casserole.
  4. Add a third more of butter and saute onions until lightly browned. Add button mushrooms, saute lightly. Transfer fried onion and mushrooms to the casserole.
  5. Pour Guinness into the pan and bring up to boil while scraping the residues from the frying. Stir in tomato paste and sugar. Pour over the casserole.
  6. Add bouquet garni. Season with salt and pepper. (you can make fresh bouquet garni by tying together with a string the following - bay leaf, 1 sprig of rosemary, 2 sprigs parsley, 2 sprigs thyme)
  7. Cover and cook in the oven for 2 1/2 - 3 hours until meat is tender. Check occassionally. If it is drying up too much add a little hot water.
  8. Saute the fresh shiitake mushroom in the remaining butter. Stir into the casserole and return to the oven for 5 minutes.
  9. Discard the bouquet garni, adjust the seasoning and serve.

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