This might remind you a little of a winter dish, however it is so good I couldn’t wait until autumn to share it. Dark beer, honey, prunes and lovely spices all give the gravy a beautiful depth of flavour, making it wonderfully aromatic and seriously tasty. Actually I would happily eat just the gravy with potatoes.
I really fell in love with this recipe. Its intense flavour had me swooning and the fact that the gravy was quite thick was a welcome surprise. No faffing around with corn flour this time! I did have a go with my stick blender for a few seconds, just to hide some of the ingredients from the Mister. This helped a lot with the consistency, it’s a good trick to keep in mind for runny slow cooker sauces.
Contrary to my usual method, this time I chose to brown the meat and saute the vegetables before I put them into the stoneware. Searing the meat is something that many people recommend when it comes to slow cooker recipes. I’m not really sure how much of a difference it actually makes, so I continue to experiment. This is also what I recommend to people who have just started out with slow cooking. Try different things to see which methods and flavors best suit your taste and your schedule. Browing before cooking adds a bit of time to our food prep, something that isn’t always convenient for us (let’s be honest, it’s never convenient). However, when a recipe has a significant amount of beer or wine in it, I prefer to give it a few minutes in a pan at a high heat, so as to evaporate most of the alcohol. I think it’s better that way, since slow cooking doesn’t allow for much evaporation and alcohol can have quite a strong taste. But again, that’s just me; your taste buds might disagree!
In any case, try the recipe and make sure you serve the stew with potatoes. I used small, new potatoes (the ones that come in a bag and need seven minutes in the microwave) but the Mister was very disappointed that he didn’t get his mash. Truth be told, mashed potatoes might be better for lapping up the gorgeous gravy. You could also serve some peas as a side dish, which would add a bit of healthy green colour to your plate.