Beer and beef stew

Hearty and warming, this tasty beef stew is perfect for winter. It freezes brilliantly, so make a batch now to keep for nights when you don’t feel like cooking, or when visitors drop by out of the blue
Serves: 4
Prep time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 3 hrs 5 mins
Total time: 3 hrs 25 mins
Skill level: Easy peasy
Costs: Mid-price


    • 2tbsp olive oil
    • 500g (1lb) trimmed, diced braising steak
    • 1 large onion, cut into wedges, leaves separated
    • 300g (10oz) Chantenay carrots, or ordinary carrots, cut into chunks
    • 2 sticks celery, cut into chunks
    • 500ml bottle light ale/stout
    • Bay leaf and thyme sprigs
    • Salt and ground black pepper

For the dumplings:

    • 125g (4oz) self-raising flour
    • 60g (2oz) light suet
    • 1 rounded tbsp thyme or parsley leaves
    • 1tbsp hot horseradish sauce


    1. Set the oven to Gas Mark 3 or 160°C. Heat 1tbsp of the oil in a large pan and brown meat, in 2 batches, if necessary. Transfer to a casserole dish.
    1. Add the rest of the oil to pan, then add the vegetables and cook for 5 mins.
    1. Pour in beer, bring to the boil and add 200ml (7fl oz) hot water, the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Cover and cook in oven for 2½ hours until meat and veg are tender. Stir and add more liquid if it looks as though it’s drying out.

To serve now:

    1. Check seasoning.
    1. Make the dumplings: Mix the flour, suet and herbs, then add the horseradish and enough water (5-6tbsp) to make a soft dough. Knead very lightly, divide the pastry into 8 and put the pieces (don’t bother to form into balls) round the edge of the casserole. Put the lid back on and cook on the hob for 30 mins.

To freeze: Cool the casserole quickly. Transfer the meat to a plastic container. Seal, label and freeze. Use within 3 months.

To serve from freezer: Thaw overnight in fridge. Bring to the boil in a pan on the hob. Make dumplings and cook as above.

Nutritional information per portion

fat 20.0g saturates 6.0g calories 500(kcal)

This nutritional information is only a guide and is based on 2,000 calories per day. For more information on eating a healthy diet, please visit the Food Standards Agency website.

Guideline Daily Amount for 2,000 calories per day are: 70g fat, 20g saturated fat, 90g sugar, 6g salt.