The smell of this beautiful Beef and Guinness Stew wafting through my kitchen has been intoxicating throughout the afternoon.
Earlier in the day I spent my Saturday morning rugged up wandering, warm coffee in hand, through the Carriageworks Farmers Markets as I always do. The produce (and producers of course) are amazing and my mind always shifts into overdrive as millions of recipe ideas run through my mind. This morning however, with the wind packing an icey punch, I decided it was the perfect day to make the winteriest of meals. A stew.
It was a pretty obvious choice, considering the 'serious' cold snap Sydney is being hit with this weekend. And yes, a top of 15 degrees celcius is damn cold for a Sydneysider!
Not being a traditional stew lover, it's a big deal when I actually get my act together to make a winter warmer such as this. This weekend though, there was nothing more appropriate for a night in front of the TV with a blanket AND the heater on. Real cold weather doesn't happen all that often here in Sydney, so I might as well soak up the opportunity to indulge in some traditional comfort cooking while I can.
A Beef and Guinness Stew is not exactly the most innovative recipe going around but there is a simple reason it is still a staple recipe in so many homes today; it is damn good. No wonder it is here to stay.
This recipe is so good that it's enough to convert even the most strict anti-stew eaters amongst us.
How do I know?... because I'm one of them.
Or at least I was.
Not only is cooking like this extremely cost effective and easy, but stews really are great and if you're lucky enough to have leftovers, they get even better. It's a win, win.
Grab everything to make this over the weekend, along with a bottle of wine, then sit back and relax.
1. Place beef and plain flour into a large zip lock bag and shake to coat evenly. Remove to a plate to separate from and discard the excess flour.
2. Heat a heavy based casserole pot (I personally love my Le Creuset ~ but any large pot will do the trick) on a medium high heat. Add a dash of olive oil and brown the floured beef in 2-3 batches. Add more olive oil as necessary. Remove the last of the beef from the pot and keep it all aside for later.
3. Return the pot to a medium high heat and add some more olive oil. Add the eschalots and bacon to the pot, stirring for a minute. Next add the garlic, thyme and bay leaves and stir until aromatic.
4. Add the tomato paste and stir to distribute evenly. Add the swede, parsnip, carrots and the browned beef and stir to coat in the tomato paste mixture allowing it to cook off for a minute of too. Do this quickly and do not allow it to burn.
5. Slowly pour the can of Guinness into the pot and stir to combine with the beef and vegetables. Bring to a boil before adding the chicken stock and again stir to thoroughly combine.
6. Bring the stew to a boil again, cover and turn the heat to low. Cook the stew, covered over the low heat for 60 minutes.
7. After this time, add the mushrooms, stir to combine and cover once again, cooking over the low heat, for another 20 minutes.
8. Remove the lid from the pot, increase the heat to medium high and bring the stew to the boil again for 20 minutes to reduce the liquid by half. Continue to stir occasionally during this last part of the process to avoid the stew sticking and burning to the bottom of the pot.
9. When the liquid is reduced to your liking, taste the stew and season if necessary. Allow the stew to cool slightly, then serve in big bowls with crusty bread.
TIPTo make this stew go even further you can also add a delicious creamy mashed potato to serve it with.
In sticking with the theme, you could serve the Beef and Guinness Stew with... a Guinness of course.
You could also serve it with a fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz to make the perfect accompaniment to this winter meal.
A real soul warmer like this always works well with a glass of red wine.
I choose a 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon by Stella Bella Wines, based in the Margaret River region of Western Australia. I first stumbled across this fantastic wine producer at the 2015 Taste of Sydney and was lucky enough to win a case as part of a competition they were running. Their wines are great and have become one of our family favourites. We re-stocked our little cellar with more Stella Bella wines after attending the 2016 Taste of Sydney (yep - I go every year), but for those of you not lucky enough to be able to attend that event or living elsewhere, you are able to purchase the Stella Bella Cabernet Sauvignon via Dan Murphy's online store.
How good is that?
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