52 Cookbooks 43: A simple stew of onions, beer & beef

Now the weather's chillier I was looking for a one-pot slow-cooked dinner and I thought Nigel Slater might have just the thing. And he did. There wasn't frost on the ground on the day I cooked this, but we were heading off for fireworks so it was great to have this cooking away in the oven for our return. 

The book I've used this week is Nigel Slater's Tender Volume 1 - it's another book I don't use enough and it's chapters are split by vegetable. As well as an intro for each subject title - this one was in onions - there's advice on how to grow onions and which varieties to grow and how an onion behaves and mixes in the kitchen too, as well as the recipes. 

 52 Cookbooks, where I cook a recipe each week from one of my (ahem) many cookbooks

52 Cookbooks, where I cook a recipe each week from one of my (ahem) many cookbooks

This recipe has few ingredients and like many of the things I'm cooking in this series I already had most of them. The recipe called for stewing beef, well I had skirt so as that was a slow cooking cut of meat I used that. There's also butter, onions, thyme, plain flour, bay leaves, red currant jelly and the only ingredient I needed to buy - beer (shocking I know!) The recipe said Trappist beer, but this was the closest I could find (and it may not be that close):


I started by melting the butter and browned the seasoned meat. I did this in batches removing it from the pan and replacing it with the thinly sliced onions and thyme leaves and cooked these until they were soft and pale, before adding in some flour and cooking a little more.  

Then it was time to add the beer and bay leaves. The recipe said to wait until the sizzling had subsided - and boy did it sizzle - before returning the beef and it's juices to the pan. Then bring the pan to the boil, pop on the lid and transfer to the oven. The recipe says for at least one and a half hours - mine needed longer.  I'm not sure if that was solely due to the cut of meat I was using or because I used a lower oven temperature for the Le Cruesuet casserole dish.  

Then just before serving stir in a tablespoon of redcurrant jelly and check the seasoning. Nigel suggests serving this with an apple sauce - yes with beef - however I decided against that, as we were out most of the time it was cooking. I did serve mashed potato and kale.


I did forget to photograph the casserole dish before we ate dinner, but there was plenty left for dinner another day (it's in the freezer ready and waiting). 

The verdict

- this was an easy but tasty one-pot; because I used blond bier I also added a beef oxo cube to help deepen the colour which worked well

- the sauce was relatively sweet, most likely down to the amount of onions - but still good

- I'd cook this again because it's so simple and as with any slow-cook cut of meat the longer you cook it the better

- I'm considering adding mushrooms and carrots to the leftovers along with a puff pastry top to form a nice warming pie...