It has been noticeably colder recently, and we’ve been craving comfort food! This is where a good stew or casserole really comes into its own. Beef in Guinness has been a family favourite recipe since I was a child, cooked for a couple of hours in a low oven. But I wanted to see if it could work in the slow cooker too. And guess what? Of course it does! It just needs a bit less cooking liquid than in my mum’s old recipe, but you still end up with lots of lovely gravy, melt-in-the-mouth beef and sweet carrots.
This is autumn/winter warming comfort food at its best. And what’s even better, is that it’s incredibly cheap to make. As Sheryl Crow didn’t quite once sing: “the best cut is the cheapest” – and this uses bog standard braising or stewing steak. So even if you shop on Ocado, you can still make this for around £2 per head.
We like to eat this with some green veg (peas, broccoli or savoy cabbage work well) and potato. Mash is great, roast are a treat, but for real decadence, cheesy mash can’t be beaten. (Chop some onions finely, sautee them in a mixture of butter and olive oil until translucent, then stir into well-seasoned mashed potato with a handful of grated mature cheddar. Put into an earthenware dish, sprinkle more cheddar on top and bake in a medium oven for about 30 minutes).
But I digress – here’s how to make the main feature – Slow Cooked Beef in Guinness…
Slow-cooker Beef in Guinness Casserole
Ingredients (serves 6)
- 800g beef stewing / braising steak cut into large chunks
- 2 medium onions
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1cm rounds
- 400ml Guinness or other stout
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon dark brown soft sugar
- 1 beef stock cube dissolved in 50ml boiling water
- 2 tablespoons tomato puree
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme or a few sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)
I think this is best if you marinade the beef in the Guinness overnight before cooking it, but that’s just my personal preference, so either marinade it, or don’t, it’s up to you.
If your slow cooker pot can go on the hob, put it over a medium heat and add a splash of olive oil and the bay leaves to warm while you start chopping the onions and carrots. Throw the onions and carrots into the pot to soften as and when they are chopped. (If your slow cooker can’t go on the hob, you can either soften the veggies in a frying pan first, or just put them straight into the slow cooker if you want to save on washing up. Although it works slightly better if they are sautéed first!)
When the onions have become translucent, put the slow cooker pot into the slow cooker (on high), and add all the other ingredients, including the marinade liquid, season with salt and pepper and give it all a good stir.
Cook on medium (or high if your cooker doesn’t do medium) for 6 hours. The sauce should have thickened nicely, but if you prefer a really thick gravy, you can check on it about half an hour before it’s done and, if necessary, add a teaspoon of cornflour dissolved in cold water.
I’ve submitted this recipe to a couple of blog link-ups: Recipe of the Week and Credit Crunch Munch hosted by MaisonCupcake on behalf of Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food 4 All. Why not follow the links to find some great recipes?