Beef in beer

    3 hours

    Topped with thick slices of garlic and herb bread, this classic Flemish casserole is hearty and satisfying. It's an ideal dish for entertaining because it can be prepared ahead and the quantities can be increased to feed as many as you want. Serve with mashed potatoes with chopped watercress added, and steamed seasonal greens.

    27 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 450 g (1 lb) lean braising steak, trimmed of fat and cut into 5 cm (2 in) cubes
    • 1 large onion, cut into wedges
    • 2 large carrots, about 340 g (12 oz) in total, thickly sliced on the diagonal
    • 1 large parsnip, about 170 g (6 oz), cut into cubes
    • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
    • 300 ml (10 fl oz) stout
    • 300 ml (10 fl oz) beef stock, preferably home-made
    • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
    • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
    • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
    • 1 tsp dark soft brown sugar
    • salt and pepper
    • Garlic and herb bread topping
    • a piece of campagne longue (traditional long French loaf), weighing about 225 g (8 oz)
    • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
    • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
    • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
    • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

    Prep:15min  ›  Cook:2hr45min  ›  Ready in:3hr 

    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4). Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a flameproof casserole, add the beef and cook over a moderately high heat for 4–5 minutes or until browned all over. Transfer the meat and its juices to a plate.
    2. Add the remaining 1 tbsp oil to the pan and reduce the heat to low, then add the onion, carrots, parsnip and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Return the beef and its juices to the pan together with the stout, stock, mixed herbs, vinegar, mustard and sugar. Stir well and bring to the boil. Cover the casserole and transfer to the oven. Cook for 2 hours or until the beef is tender.
    3. Meanwhile, cut the piece of bread into 8 thick slices. Mix together the garlic, parsley, thyme and oil and spoon evenly over one side of each slice of bread.
    4. Uncover the casserole and add salt and pepper to taste. Lay the slices of bread, oiled side up, in a circle around the top edge of the beef casserole, overlapping them slightly. Return the casserole to the oven to cook for 20–30 minutes or until the bread is golden and crisp. Serve hot.

    Another idea

    For beef in red wine, use 12 whole shallots or baby onions in place of the onion, carrots and parsnips, and a full-bodied red wine instead of the stout. Omit the vinegar, mustard and sugar and add 1 tbsp redcurrant jelly instead. At the end of step 2, stir in 225 g (8 oz) sliced mushrooms and 200 g (7 oz) vacuum-packed peeled chestnuts for the last 10 minutes of the cooking time. Serve with rice and stir-fried shredded Brussels sprouts.

    Plus points

    A casserole such as this makes a particularly healthy meal. Water-soluble vitamins – C and B complex – and minerals that seep from the food during the cooking process are usually thrown away with the cooking water. In casseroles, more of the nutrients are retained in the gravy.

    Each serving provides

    A, B1, B6, B12, E, folate, niacin, zinc * B2, C, iron * calcium

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