Beef and Ale Hotpot
This looks like a comforting meal for a chilly day
3 sticks of celery
½ a bunch of fresh rosemary , (15g) or 3 bay leaves
1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
500 ml ale , Guinness or stout
1 x 400 g tin of plum tomatoes
750e g quality diced stewing beef
1. If using the oven to cook the stew, preheat it to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4.
2. Put a large shallow ovenproof casserole pan on a medium heat with 2 tablespoons of oil.
3. Trim the celery, wash the carrots, peel the onions, then roughly chop it all about the same size as your beef chunks, adding the veg to the pan as you go.
4. Season the veg with sea salt and black pepper, and fry for 10 minutes, or until softened and starting to caramelise, stirring occasionally.
5. Strip in the rosemary leaves, stir in the flour for 2 minutes, then pour in the booze and let it cook away.
6. Pour in the tomatoes, breaking them up with the back of the spoon.
7. Fill the tin with water, swirl around, and pour into the pan.
8. Bring just to the boil, then stir in the meat, season, and cover. Either simmer slowly on the hob or place in the oven for 2 hours, or until the meat falls apart easily.
9. Taste the stew and tweak the seasoning, if needed, then serve with rice or mashed potato, and some lovely veggies, or check out the topping ideas below.
Fill a large baking dish with the cooked stew. Peel and slice 600g of potatoes into 1cm-thick slices and parboil in boiling, salted water for 5 minutes, then carefully drain and leave for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Lay the potatoes over the stew. Drizzle with a little olive oil or brush with melted butter, and pick over some rosemary leaves, if you have them, then cook in the oven for 40 minutes.
This stew would also be delicious topped with pastry, mashed potato or dumplings.
* You can use leeks instead of onions, no problem.
* Rosemary and beef are good friends, bay would also work a treat, or you could chuck in some dried herbs, like oregano.
* Run out of plain flour? Try wholemeal flour instead.
* If you don’t want to use any alcohol, simply add an extra tin of tomatoes and a bit of water.