First Ever Beef Stew

As far as my memory goes, my grandma never cook a beef dish for us before, neither did my mum. It’s not that we didn’t have butcher selling beef here, I guess it must be the horrible experience of eating those beefy odor curry on the Indian celebration that intimidated us, my family never love it.

So, I asked my grandma about the matter, little did I know, she actually cook a lot before, during a period when grandpa was ill. She would stir fry the beef fillet with loads of ginger just to dispel the unpleasant meaty flavor, and said grandpa was mad for it because he believed beef is very good for his health.

I’m always looking forward a chance to cook this beef casserole I once saw in Nigella Feasts long ago. Now, seeing all the cans of stout lining along the shelf, I just could not help myself to go for supermarket and gets the meat back home.

Actually, I don’t know whether I had chosen the right cut, there was so many parts to pick, well, I just go with the one with thick meat. If you are as much hates the strong beefy smell like me, trust me, after stewing for two and a half hour, all the taste are so mellow, the odor is reduced to minimal, a very good dish to start for anyone who doesn’t like beef.


  • 300g of stewing beef, cubed
  • 1 onion,
  • 1 carrot,
  • 1 stick of celery,
  • 2 cloves of garlic,
  • 1 tsp of ginger,
  • 1 tbsp of flour,
  • 1 tsp of black pepper,
  • 1 tsp of salt,
  • 1 tsp of ground allspice,
  • 1/2 tsp of dried oregano,
  • 1/2 cup of water,
  • 1 cup of stout,
  • juice of half orange,
  • 2 bay leaf,

You’ll be amaze how little work this stew takes. First, chopped up all the vegetables. Coat the meat with seasoned flour, which comprises of black pepper, salt, allspice, and oregano.

In a casserole pan or any pot, brown the beef with couple tablespoon of oil. One thing to look after, don’t crowd the pan with too much meat, or else the temperature will dropped too much, and the beef only braised in its own liquid and not sear. Try to work on batches.

Remove the browned meat on to a plate and set aside. You’ll have this wonderful residue left at the bottom of the pan, toss all the chopped vegetable and leave to soften. Once the onion is slightly translucent, pour in the water to de-glaze and scrap the bit sticking to the pan. There’s something soothing about the step of browning and then de-glazing, maybe because I often watched Laura Calder used that technique in her French cooking.

Anyway, what you need to do next is to pour in the stout, all foamy and bitter, also squeezed in orange juice and throw in the bay leaf. Return the beef into the pan, give it a good stir and bring the pan to boil. When it bubbles, season well, clam on the lid, and let to cook for two and a half hour either on the stove or in a 150C oven.

I made this casserole a day advance, they say the flavor will develop further if reheat, I do what I had been told. For the first attempt, it was not bad, my grandpa do like it, and me. I totally craved for the sauce drizzle over warm rice, and you would not taste the full bitterness of stout, just a hint mingle with the sweetness of the vegetable. Now I realized why Nigella consider this as her comfort food.


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