Winter has finally hit Cape Town with full force and I couldn’t be happier about spending more time at home cuddling under a blanket and cooking comfort food like this. I’ve added Castle Milk Stout to this dish which adds a delicious slightly bitter depth of flavour that mellows after the 3 hours it takes to simmer away. The mushrooms compliment the beef in flavour and texture, and then all the usual suspects like onion, celery and carrots go in to make this a classic beef stew.
I’ve been developing a few recipes – both savoury and sweet using Castle Milk stout and it is such an incredible ingredient to add to your food. In fact most alcoholic beverages make great ingredients when added appropriately to a dish. If you think of the process and time that is involved to make them. Wine, whiskey, beer, cider, sherry and liqueurs are so interesting to drink on their own, they can only add tremendous value when used as a flavouring agent in cooking. Here are a few of my previous recipes using Castle Milk Stout and Chocolate Castle Milk Stout:
I served this hearty beef and mushroom stew with greenwheat freekeh – which in case you didn’t know what this was, is a delicious roasted grain from highly nutritious young green wheat. I’m head over heels in love with it too since first trying it last week. It has only recently become available in South Africa and comes in a whole grain or cracked grain variety. The cracked wheat cooks a little quicker – more like rice (but only way more tasty) and is the perfect accompaniment to this stew. I played around making a genius recipe with it too, so expect that on the blog towards the end of the week. You don’t want to miss it.
~cooks notes – You will need a heavy based casserole dish with a lid such as cast iron. You can either simmer it on the stove as I did or braise it in the oven at 180C / 350F. If you are doing it on the stovetop, you must turn the heat down to its very lowest setting, as you do not want to boil the meat. Ensure that you stir it every now and again to prevent bits sticking to the bottom. Season it a few times. It requires a fair bit of salt and pepper along the way.
Recipe – serves 4
- 6 Tbsp olive oil
- 500 gms good quality free range stewing beef cut into cubes
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 carrots chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
- 3 bay leaves
- 4 level Tbsp flour
- 1 bottle / 340 ml Castle Milk Stout
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1 x 400gm tin chopped tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and pepper
- 250gm portobello mushrooms, halved or quartered
- Pat the meat cubes dry with paper towel to remove any excess blood or moisture.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet or heavy based flat bottomed casserole dish that has a lid and fry half the beef until golden and caramelised on all sides (it doesn’t have to be cooked through). Repeat this by adding a second 2 tablespoons of olive oil and frying the remaining half of the meat. Remove and set aside.
- In the same pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and fry the onions, carrots and celery with the herbs until softened and just starting to go brown. About 4 minutes. Add the flour and cook this for about a minute until all the oil has been soaked up and it is a paste like consistency.
- Add the stout and deglaze the pan scraping off any bits that may be stuck. Cook until most of the liquid has cooked off. Add the stock and continue to cook for another minute to thicken.
- Add the tin of tomatoes along with the browned meat and mushrooms. Add the Worcestershire sauce and a good few pinches of salt and pepper.
- You can then let this bubble away on your stovetop on very low heat or you can braise in the oven at 180 C/ 350 F. Keep it covered for the first 2 hours of cooking and then take off the lid for the last hour.
- As the stew is cooking make sure you give it a stir every 20 minutes or so to ensure nothing sticks and to adjust seasoning.
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This recipe is sponsored by Castle Milk Stout