Beef in Beer Casserole
Beef provides plenty of iron and minerals. It makes a mouth-watering casserole when cooked with beer and hearty winter vegetables.
500 grams (1 lb) lean stewing beef, cubed
2 tablespoons oatmeal, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 1⁄2 cups good-quality beer
3–4 sprigs of fresh thyme
3 juniper berries, crushed
2 good pinches of allspice
200 grams (7 oz) baby shallots or small pickling onions, peeled
275 grams (10 oz) baby carrots, scrubbed and trimmed
275 grams (10 oz) baby parsnips or baby turnips, scrubbed and trimmed, or mature ones, scrubbed and cubed
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Toss the pieces of steak in the oatmeal to lightly coat, then shake to remove any excess.
2. Heat the oil in a heavy flameproof casserole and briefly cook the beef until lightly coloured. Transfer to a plate. Add the chopped onions to the casserole and cook gently over a low heat, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes until softened and golden.
3. Add the beer, thyme, juniper berries and allspice plus a little seasoning to taste, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
4. Stir in the shallots or onions, whole baby carrots, parsnips or turnips, and the beef and any meat juices. When the liquid comes to a boil, cover the casserole and put into the oven. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 11⁄2 hours until the meat is really tender.
5. Towards the end of the cooking time, cut the bread stick into slices about 2.5 cm thick and lay on a baking tray. Bake for about 15 minutes until they are lightly brown and crisp. Arrange the toasted bread on top of the meat and vegetables and cook, uncovered, for a further 5 minutes. Serve hot, straight from the casserole dish.
Cook’s tips: To prepare ahead, cook up to the end of step 4, then cool and store in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours, or freeze. Thaw, if frozen, then reheat thoroughly before adding the toasted bread.
Shallots and pickling onions are easy to peel if you make a small cut in the skin at the top and then soak in boiling water for 2 minutes.Variation• If you like, use 2 cups beer with 1⁄2 cup beef stock instead of just beer.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time about: 1 3⁄4 hours
713 calories, 20 g fat (4.5 g saturated), 40 g protein, 78 g carbohydrate, 7.5 g fibre