Nothing makes me happier than some good wholesome home cooked food, I find it relaxing to get my pinny on and whip up something simple and classic.
This week I decided to make a traditional stew which is perfect for a cold blustery Sunday evening.
4 stalks of celery
2 handfuls of mushrooms
Beef - cubed (shoulder is best but I had to make do with stewing steak this time)
A bottle of Guinness (bottles taste better than cans etc, make sure is it room temp not from the fridge)
2 bay leaves
Black pepper to season
*Served with mash potatoes and a bottle of Guinness.
1. I like to start by washing, peeling and chopping the vegetables first so they are ready to be thrown straight into the pot. I keep my vegetables chunky for this kind of dish.
2. Heat the olive oil in the pan and make sure it is properly hot before you add the beef, if it is not hot enough you wont sear the outside of the beef quickly and risk overcooking it as the pan heats up.
3. Add the beef to the hot pan and resist the temptation to stir straight away, you don't need to keep the beef moving, you want it to sit for a moment. The beef should colour nicely on one side before you turn it over onto the other side to brown.
*Hint - if you are making a large stew cook your beef in batches rather than trying to do it in one hit.
4. Remove the beef from a pan but don't clean the pan or remove the meat juices, leave them in there!
5. Add the vegetables and soften them in the meat juices for about 5 minutes on a medium heat.
6. Then add the bottle of Guinness and stir, gentle rubbing the bottom of the pan with your spoon to lift the meat flavours, this cleanses the pan and all the meat juice remnants will make it's way into the beer.
7. Add the beef back into the pan along with the bay leaves and black pepper to taste.
8. From here you can assess how much liquid you will need to cover the top of the ingredients, you should add enough beef stock to cover the top and stir well to bring it all together.
9. Turn the heat down so that you have a gentle simmer, your stew should be gentle bubbling every now and again but not boiling. Leave the lid off the pan to allow the liquid to reduce.
10. Depending on the size of your stew you will want to cook it on low for 1.5-2 hours, the fork test will tell you when the beef is done. It should be cooked all the way through but a fork should pass through it easily.
11. Serve with mashed potatoes and more black pepper if desired.
There you have my simple stew recipe, I hope you enjoy it and I cant wait to try out some more winter warmers over the coming months.
Until next time