I’ve been meaning to make Rich Beef and Ale Casserole from the Hairy Dieters since the beginning of the first lockdown. A bottle of dark ale has sat in my drinks cabinet for almost a year, which for a pisshead like me is quite an achievement! I’m not sure why this recipe kept getting bumped down the list. Maybe it’s due to the lengthy cooking time (over 2 hours) and that our preferred option is a Sunday roast accompanied by mash, carrots and parsnips.
But…. this one-pot casserole is a brilliantly comforting meal, perfect for a winter’s day and your oven will do the majority of the work. With some mash, it will feed six people and both our Mum’s loved it. We are trying to provide them with home-cooked meals when we can as they live by themselves. Do take care to cook the casserole on a low oven temperature (exact method below) and occasionally check to make sure the beef doesn’t dry out.
If you want a variation on this theme, then have a go at spicy Mexican beef, rich beef in red wine or beef massaman curry.
Recipe: Rich Beef and Ale Casserole
Calories: 377 per portion (without mash)
Book: Hairy Dieters – How to Love Food and Lose Weight
Prep time: Approx 20 minutes
Cooking time: Approx 2 hours 15 minutes
- 1 tbsp olive sunflower oil
- 2 medium onions (chopped)
- 4 tbsp plain flour
- 1 tsp flaked sea salt
- 2 tsp dried mixed herbs
- 1kg lean braising beef
- 1 bay leaf
- 500ml dark ale or stout
- 250ml beef stock (made with 1 beef stock cube)
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 tsp caster sugar
- 5 medium carrots (about 275g), peeled and thickly sliced
- 2 parsnips (about 300g), peeled and halved lengthways and sliced
- Ground black pepper
Cost per portion: Approx £1.96
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C / Fan 160 degrees C / Gas 4. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish. Add the onions and fry them over a medium-high heat for about 5 minutes until lightly browned, stirring regularly. Remove the pan from the heat.
Put the flour, salt and dried herbs in a large bowl and season with lots of freshly ground black pepper. Trim the beef of any hard fat and sinew, then cut the meat into rough 3cm cubes. Toss the meat in the flour until evenly coated, then tip it into the casserole dish with the onions.
Add the bay leaf, ale, stock, tomato puree and sugar. Stir well and bring to the boil, then cover with a lid. Carefully transfer the casserole to the oven and cook for 1 ½ hours. At the end of this time, take the casserole out of the oven and stir in the carrots and parsnips. Put the lid back on and return the dish to the oven for a further 45 minutes or until the beef and vegetables are tender.