Cookbook:Beef and Guinness Casserole
Here is a recipe for a fantastic beef and Guinness casserole. You can find many variations of this by searching the internet, but I found many of them lacking so I experimented and experimented. Finally it started tasting deep and rich. Serves four (or three if you're my family---they can't get enough!).
- 1 kg (2.5 lbs) of round beef, trim the fat and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 4-5 medium onions
- 4-5 stalks of celery
- 4-5 medium carrots
- 1 bottle 500 ml Guinness or other stout
- 1 500 ml (16 oz.) of tomato sauce (can use canned chopped tomato, but for a richer sauce use bottles of tomato sauce (NOT ketchup!!))
- Small handful of fresh thyme
- 2 cloves of garlic crushed and sliced thin
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup of plain flour
- 2 tablespoons of peppercorns (can add more to taste)
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- Approximately 1 litre (1 quart) of stock (2 good quality beef stock cubes)
- Olive oil
- Bunch of spring onion
- Pile of starchy white potatoes (enough for 4 people)
- Other half of the salt pepper mix
- Spoon and a bit of butter and a dollop of milk
- Start by getting your meat cut into one inch pieces. Cut your vegetables into small, similarly sized pieces, keep the carrots big enough about half inch cuts, and none so big as you wouldn't want to find it later and think "That's a bloody big bit of carrot". Lately I've taken to cutting half the onions into rough chunks and half quite fine, its good! Smash and finely cut your garlic.
- Important. Freshly grind your pepper to a fine powder in a pestle and mortar. Take your time with this. Then add a teaspoon of salt, set half of this aside for your champ potato.Then add the other half to 1/4 cup of flour and mix well to get seasoned flour, then mix this in a big bowl with your beef.
- Heat your frying pan medium high heat and add a good lug of olive oil, add your coated beef, discard the excess (shouldn't be much). Important - you need enough oil so that the coating isn't dry on the beef. You then want to brown the beef, keep it moving so it doesn't burn. What your doing is sealing the meat so its tender later and undergoing Mailliard reaction which give fantastic flavour. Brown in batches if pan is not very large. Put to one side.
- Add another lug of olive oil (small) Add the onion and turn to Medium-low heat, cook for a few minutes and add celery and garlic, continue to cook until they all soften and the onion has started going golden. Add the carrot and continue for another few minutes.
- Now get a big oven proof casserole dish and add your stock, cooked vegetables, beef, Guinness, tomato, bay leaves and thyme. Bring to boil on a hob, put on the lid and put into a pre-heated oven at 150 degrees Celsius (300F) (or maybe a little higher if your over isn't a fan oven like mine), check every 40 min to 1 hour and give a good stir. This takes 3 hours to cook properly. All the protein that makes round beef tough comes out into your sauce to make it thick and rich and your beef juicy and tender. If you did the browning part right the beef should be succulent and bursting with flavour, if not then it is dry and boring.
- About 40 min before the casserole is done. Boil potatoes until soft, drain, and allow to steam until dry. Mash thoroughly and add pepper/salt combo (salt to taste), butter and a little milk (its amazing how little milk will turn your potato to sludge, careful now!), once all this is mashed good add your spring onion and stir.
- Serve - Deep bowls, put a layer of champ at the bottom and ladle your beef and Guinness on the top, serve and enjoy, more pepper and salt wouldn't go amiss, but that's just me. Hope it worked out...