Exmoor Beast Beef

Ingredients

1 kg West Ilkerton stewing steak or braising steak, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces.

1 or 2 onions (red if possible), skinned and chopped.

1 tablespoon of beef dripping, olive oil or cooking oil. (Some fat will come out of the meat as it cooks, even if it’s well-trimmed, so if you add a lot of fat you may have to skim some off the top after it has cooked for a while.)

2 heaped tablespoons of plain flour, seasoned with herbs & spices of your choice. We particularly like freshly ground black pepper, ground ginger and nutmeg.

1 bottle of Exmoor Beast Ale

You can add more vegetables to this (mushrooms, carrots, chopped tomatoes, whortleberries (Exmoor bilberries) or chestnuts all go well) after the meat has cooked for about half an hour.

Method

Brown the onions in a little fat in a casserole dish, stirring occasionally so they cook evenly, then take the dish off the heat.

Dust the diced beef with seasoned flour. Fry in batches on a high heat in a separate frying pan, to seal the meat, and put the fried meat into the casserole dish.

When all the meat has been fried and added to the casserole dish, mix it with the onions. Return the casserole dish to the hob on moderate heat.

Open a bottle of Exmoor Beast and (resisting the temptation to take a swig) add it gradually to the beef and onions, stirring continuously.

Bring the ingredients to the boil, still stirring, so that the gravy around the meat thickens and becomes smooth.

If the meat is braising steak, you can add whatever extra vegetables and fruit you want at this point because braising steak will take only about an hour to become tender in a fairly hot oven. (Put the lid on the casserole dish before you put it in the oven.) Stewing steak may take a little longer, so cook it in the oven for half an hour before adding the other ingredients.

You can slow cook this recipe, too, if you are going to be out for several hours.

Cook until the meat is tender, and serve the dish with potatoes (baked, boiled, roasted, mashed…) and vegetables. Red cabbage, spring greens, herby cabbage, cauliflower cheese, roast parsnips, carrots, sprouts, peas and beans are all excellent.

Double or treble the quantities to feed more people or to eat some now a store the rest in the fridge or freezer. This dish freezes well. We always have a few old ice cream tubs of it in our freezer as a stand-by (which can cause confusion if I forget to label the container and Chris fancies some ice cream for pudding!).