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15.06.2014

1 ratings, avg : 3.00
3-4
3.5lt

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.

Ingredients

600-700 gr beef, cut into medium pieces

flour for dusting

2 + 1 Tbs oil

1 cup chicken stock (or use beef)

1 onion, small to medium, finely diced

1 carrot, grated (or sliced if you’re not hiding it)

1 leek, chopped (the white and a little of the green part)

5 medium mushrooms, quartered

8 prunes, stoneless

1 cup stout/dark beer

1 1/2 Tbs honey

1/2 tsp dried ginger

1/2 tsp allspice

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Step 1

Toss the meat in the flour, shaking off any excess. Heat 2 Tbs oil over medium-high heat, saute the meat so it’s well browned on all sides and place it in the slow cooker insert along with the stock.

Step 2

Lower the heat on the stove and to the same pan add the third tablespoon of oil and the onion. When it starts changing color, add the carrot and leek. Saute until tender. Increase the heat, add the mushrooms and prunes and cook until the mushrooms become fragrant. Add the stout, honey, ginger, allspice and bay leaf and bring the mixture to a boil for 2-3 minutes. Transfer the contents of the pan to the slow cooker, and cook on high for 5 hours. I estimate it would take about 8 hours on low but check for doneness before turning off. Don’t forget cooking times always depend on the capacity of the slow cooker.

Step 3

If you want to blend the gravy, transfer the meat to a plate, remove the stoneware from the base and blend with a stick blender for a few seconds. Return the meat to the sauce and serve with potatoes.

The above amounts are for a 3.5 litre slow cooker. If yours is larger increase the recipe quantities or watch the cooking time as it could be shorter. This recipe is adapted from one by Vangelis Driskas on his TV programme Flavours in Nature.

1 ratings, avg : 3.00

So, what do you think? Leave me a comment!

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