By Phil Vickery
This is a great winter dish and it’s so easy to cook. Just simmer and thicken, and there’s no need to worry about oven temperatures or sealing the meat.
• 350g (12oz) good chuck steak, cut into 2cm (3⁄4in) pieces; a little extra fat is fine
• 1 beef stock cube
• 300ml (10fl oz) water
• 300ml (10fl oz) of winter ale
• 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped into 1cm (1⁄2in) pieces
• 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
• A couple of pinches of caster sugar
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2 tbsp good-quality tomato purée
• Olive oil
• 4 large flat mushrooms
• 1 tbsp plain flour
• 40g (11⁄2oz) unsalted butter, softened
Place the beef, stock cube, water, beer, carrot, onion, sugar, salt, pepper and tomato purée into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and barely simmer, partly covered, for 2–21⁄2 hours. Keep checking the meat and do not overcook it or it will be dry and stringy. You may need to occasionally top up the liquid with a little extra boiling water to keep the meat covered. Preheat the grill to its highest setting. Brush olive oil over the mushrooms and season well with salt and pepper. Grill for 15 minutes to dry out the mushrooms. Cut into 5mm (1⁄4in) slices and reserve. Mix the flour and softened butter together. Once the meat is tender, and the stock has reduced somewhat, stir in the flour and butter paste, and the stew will thicken nicely. If it ends up too thick, add a little water. Once thickened, stir in the cooked mushrooms and warm through. Serve with plenty of mashed potatoes and a few roasted parsnips.