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This is a tasty and comforting alternative to a Sunday roast. It can be made ahead of time and left to blip away on the hob so it’s much less faff than a roast too.
Season the flour with salt and pepper and toss the meat in it. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large casserole dish over a high heat. Dust the excess flour from the meat and brown the beef in the casserole dish. You will need to do this in two batches, adding a little more oil as you remove each browned batch.
When you have removed the last of the meat from the dish, turn the heat down low, add a little more oil, the onions and celery and sweat gently for 10 minutes. Add the garlic, bay, thyme and a pinch of salt and sweat for another 4-5 minutes until the vegetables are soft and translucent. Keep stirring occasionally to prevent them browning.
Return the beef to the dish, add the stock, ale and redcurrant jelly. This should be enough to cover the meat, but if not add a splash of water. Bring to the boil then turn down to a very gentle simmer, pop a lid on and leave for 1.5 hours.
Add the mushrooms and the carrots and cook for another hour. At this point, if the stew is too juicy for your liking, strain off the sauce from the meat and veg and boil the sauce down to thicken it. Do not be tempted do this with the meat and veg still in the casserole or the meat will toughen and the veg will turn mushy – disaster.
Pre-heat the oven to 210°C / 190°C fan / gas mark 7.
Return the meat and veg to the sauce, if you have done the thickening stage, add the peas and check the seasoning. Transfer the whole lot to an oven-proof pie dish which is small enough that the casserole almost completely fills it to the brim. Lay the pastry on top of the dish, using a fork to press it onto the edges. Don’t worry if the pastry is messy – it all adds to the rustic charm. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg and poke a hole in the middle. Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Serve immediately.
All to be sourced organic where possible
3 tbsp plain flour
1kg stewing beef, shin is ideal, cut into 3cm chunks