I have enough kitchen appliances to fill two shelves in the pantry plus two cupboards under the sink. Way too many but I actually feel like there really is a need for each and every one of them! Especially the slow cooker, which probably doesn’t get used as much as it should really. There’s nothing like that feeling of comfort when you walk into the house after a long day at work and the smells of dinner waft through the air. This beef and beer stew is a great one for just that occasion. With a bit of extra time on my hands I have also made a batch of cheddar dumplings to soak up the gravy. Seriously though, these will only take about 20 minutes to mix up and pop in the oven.
For the stew I’ve thrown in a few root vegetables so it’s extra hearty. Choose whatever you like really – parsnips, carrot, pumpkin, turnips, potatoes. Carrots for me are a must, they add an amazing sweetness to the flavour! Leeks are also great but you can also substitute this with a brown onion.
I have to say, I don’t cook with beer enough. It has a great balance of bitterness from the hops and sweetness from the malt. Just like wine, beer has a distinct flavour and aroma depending on the brew. I’ve gone for a lighter beer, the Eagle Bay Pale Ale from a great brewing co here in Western Australia.
If you’re interested in reading up more on the brewery then check out this link: http://eaglebaybrewing.com.au/
After chopping up all the vegetables and dicing your beef the only real prep you need to do is sealing the meat. Simply coat the diced beef with flour and pan fry to seal in the moisture. The flour coating will help thicken the stew while it’s cooking.
Beef and Beer Stew
makes enough to serve 4
- 1kg gravy beef or chuck steak, diced
- 1 cup of plain flour
- 1 leek
- 2 carrots, peeled & diced
- 1 turnip, peeled & diced
- 3 large potatoes, diced
- 1 can of brown lentils
- 1 cup of green peas
- 1 330ml bottle of pale ale
- 2 cups of beef stock
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and pepper for seasoning
Season the beef with salt and pepper then coat with the flour. Coat a hot pan with oil (vegetable or olive) and sear the meat until it is browned. Add more oil if it is needed as the flour may begin to stick. Then transfer the meat and vegetables (except the peas and lentils) to your slow cooker and top it up with the beer and stock. Throw in the rosemary leaves, bay leaf and leave your cooker to do it’s magic for at least 6 hours. Alternatively you can cook the stew in a dutch oven or heavy based pot for about 2.5 hours until the meat is soft.
After the cooking time, when the meat is soft, throw in the peas and the lentils. Keep warm until ready for serving.
About 20 minutes before you want to serve the stew you can make the dumplings.
- 3 cups of self raising flour
- 80gms of chilled butter, cubed
- 185 ml of milk
- 1/2 cup of grated cheddar
- 1/4 cup of chives, chopped
- pinch of salt
Preheat your oven to 200C. Combine the flour, salt and butter in a food processor and pulse until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Transfer to a large bowl and pour in the milk, add the cheddar and chives. Stir the mixture together with a wooden spoon and then fully combine with your hands, kneading it as you go. Grease a muffin tray and divide the dough into 8 even balls. Place the dough in the muffin tray and brush the tops with milk. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until it has risen and cooked through.
Serve your golden dumplings with your stew and enjoy!