Saturday 5 January 2013

Beef and Guinness stew

Happy New Year! Ohhhh, so many things to look forward to this year such as new dishes, new places, new experiences! I can’t wait!

I’m just back from a few days in Ireland, at home with me Mammy (hello Mammy!). Before I left, I made beef casserole for the family, something I haven’t eaten since Mammy made it every week or so when I was growing up.  I have to admit, I prefer mine to Mam’s (sorry Mam), and I’d no problem convincing SD to eat it. One thing puzzled me though. Mam’s beef casserole was pale brown while all the recipe’s I found included some tomato puree. I asked Mammy about this and she said that she simply dismissed the idea of putting tomato puree in! Anyway, it was yum, and it will be made again.

On my return to Belgium, I decided to make some beef and Guinness casserole, something that Mammy never made for us.

Beef and Guinness stew

I used another recipe from the RTE website for the casserole, and used some steak that was going for half nothing in the supermarket. There were only two of us for dinner last night, and we got two helping each, plus some left over for lunch for one today.

400g beef
1 tablespoon flour
a dribble of olive oil
2 carrots, chopped into rings
1 chopped onion
2 leeks, chopped into pieces about 2cm long
two cloves garlic, crushed
330ml Guinness (one bottle)
a dribble of water
1 teaspoon of Oxo/Bovril or beef stock
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
a few shakes of dried thyme, rosemary and savory (about a teaspoon of each)
170g lardons
2 small potatoes per person, or as many as you’d eat yourself

Chop the beef into bite-sized chunks and brown them in the olive oil in a hot, heavy-based pot. Once they’re all browned, remove them and cook the onion and crushed garlic for about five minutes in the remaining oil, then add the carrots and cook these for a few minutes.
Pop the meat back in and coat the whole lot in the tablespoon of flour, stirring well to coat the whole lot. Slowly pour in the bottle of Guinness and stir it through. I added a dribble of water, say about 30ml, and a teaspoon of Oxo together with a little salt and pepper and the herbs. Cover with a lid and simmer on a gentle heat for 40 minutes.
We both tested the sauce at this stage and thought it quite bitter, so we added a teaspoon of brown sugar to soften it. When you’re making yours, test it to see and season as you like.
Add the leeks and the potatoes, nestling them into sauce and scatter the lardons over the lot. Cover with the lid and cook until the potatoes are done – about another 20 minutes or so. The lardons really added to the dish, mellowing it out a lot. 

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