That 70s Stew..

Posted on November 7th, 2012
Categories: News

There are stews and there are stews… in my opinion there is simply only one way to getting your guests waving the gluttony card for a third helping!

I made a stew last night that I knew would appeal to the long suffering guinea pig (my husband), thanks to two irresistible ingredients.. Beer and fillet of beef.   Hardly sophisticated food, but somehow very comforting on a Monday night.

A stew needs to be made slowly, with loving care and most importantly all cooked in one pot, to avoid flavours being lost in the washing up! 

The other tip is to place the meat into the pan to cook in equal amounts of olive oil/corn oil and butter (this stops the butter getting burnt and smoking).  Don’t overcrowd the pan, to ensure each piece has the opportunity to brown and coat the bottom of the pan, leaving an imprint of flavour and colour.  Once the pieces have browned up, place them into a dish and start on the next batch of meat – always adding a little more butter and oil to the pan in the process.

When a recipe then calls for the addition of onions (or whatever additional ingredient is asked for), I recommend removing the meat and placing into a dish on the side, and cooking the onions in the same pan as used to cook the meat.  You will see that by this stage, the additional ingredients are coated with gorgeous colours and flavours.  You can then return the meat back into the pan, adding the rest of the ingredients.

Simple … I know.. but effective. So here below is what I cured the Monday Blues with!

Beef, Onion, Thyme and Beer Stew – served with buttery mashed potatoes

Serves 6


1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil or corn oil
3 large red onions – cut into quarters
1 tablespoon of brown sugar (I used loose jaggery)
1.5kg of beef fillet – cut into generous cubes
2 tablespoons of plain flour
250gm of mushrooms – cut in half
1 bottle of Tusker beer *
600ml of beef stock
1 sprig of fresh thyme, 1 stick of fresh rosemary and a teaspoon of chopped fresh parsley

* All the alcohol is burnt off in the cooking process. Beer can be substituted for beef stock.

  1. Heat the oven to 150°C / Gas 2
  2. Place the oil and butter into a large saucepan and add the beef fillet – as explain above, do this in batches as not to overcrowd the pan
  3. Cook the beef, on a medium heat, for at least 8 to 10 minutes to ensure each piece is nicely browned.  Place any cooked beef onto a dish on the side for use later. Start again with the next batch of beef
  4. One the beef is all cooked, add a little more butter and oil to the pan and cook the red onions for about 5 minutes on a medium heat, stir well with a wooden spoon to pick up all the colours and flavours on the bottom of the pan from cooking the beef
  5. One the onions are cooked, return the beef and add the brown sugar. Give the pan and good stir so the sugar gets well distributed.  Cook gently for 1 minute to caramelize the sugar
  6. Now add the plain flour and stir well again, and add the bottle of beer and beef stock and stir well.  Add a good pinch of salt and a pepper.
  7. Make sure that all the meat is covered by liquid, if necessary you can top up with a little water or beef stock
  8. Add the herbs and cook on a gentle low heat for 1 hour. During this period, keep checking that the sauce hasn’t dried out. If it looks a little dry, again, add some water/stock
  9. After 1 hour, add the mushrooms and cook for another half hour
  10. Put the potatoes on to boil
  11. When you are ready to serve,  taste and add seasoning if necessary, and serve with buttery mashed potatoes and some carrot ribbons.


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