Beef & Guinness Stew

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A deliciously comforting and warming beef stew; perfect for a cold evening.

Like with a lot of recipes, I found this and then forgot about it. This one was from Delicious Magazine and it looked like the perfect warming winter stew so when I heard that my Nan was coming to stay, I thought this would be right up her street. My Nan is what I imagine most people’s Nan’s to be like – a fan of traditional British food. A curry is something alien and far too exotic for her, bless her.

So Mum and Dad were going to come over on Monday evening and bring Nan with them. She hadn’t seen our new house so it would be a chance to show her and to also cook her a nice meal. We didn’t have people over for dinner very often in our flat because we didn’t have a dining room table so it was a bit awkward to invite people over and ask them to eat with their plate on their lap! Since we’ve been in our house we have had lots of people over and it has to be one of my favourite things about the house. I didn’t realise how a dining table would make such a difference!

As it was a Monday they were coming, and a stew by nature isn’t the quickest of meals; I made it on the Sunday night and reheated it on the Monday. It tasted absolutely delicious, such deep and delicious flavours enhanced by the Guinness. It did become a little drier when I was reheating it so I added a bit more beef stock to create more gravy again, so if you reheat it you may need to do this too.

I’m sure if you have a slow cooker, this would work really well. I don’t have a slow cooker (I have nearly everything else it seems!) but my sister is threatening to buy me one so if she does I might become less clueless about them!

As you can see, there aren’t any photos of it actually plated up because keeping Rien waiting while I take photos of his dinner is one thing, but making my parent’s and Nan wait is another! Stew isn’t one of the most photogenic meals anyway- it’s all in the taste!

4 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
150g streaky bacon, finely chopped
1.2kg shin of beef, cut into chunks 
3 tbsp plain flour
600ml Guinness
500ml beef stock
1 bouquet garni (I used thyme, rosemary, 3 bay leaves – the original recipe used parsley instead of rosemary)

  1. Heat 1 tsp of the oil in a large pan or casserole dish over a medium heat and add the onions. Fry for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add the bacon and fry for a further 4-5 minutes making sure you stir occasionally. Remove the onions and bacon from the pan and set aside

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  1. Dust the beef in the seasoned flour. Heat the rest of the oil in the pan over a high heat and fry the beef in batches, for 3-4 minutes until browned all over

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  1. Reduce the heat to medium, return all of the beef, onions and bacon to the pan. Add the Guinness, stock and herbs as well as plenty of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil

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  1. Once it has come to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook partially covered for 2½ hours until the meat is tender. Serve with mashed potatoes and vegetables

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Feta Stuffed Peppers

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Delicious, tasty and super easy these Feta Stuffed Peppers make an excellent light lunch or starter.

I found this recipe in my friend’s Weight Watchers recipe book which is always a good sign that it is going to be healthy! I really love the flavour of peppers when they are roasted as it brings out their sweetness so thought I would give this recipe a try. They did mention added chilli flakes, but I didn’t fancy this so I left them out but feel free to add them if you want a bit of a kick!

I didn’t have any fresh basil so I sprinkled on some frozen basil. I don’t seem to be very good at keeping plants alive so don’t tend to buy the little herb plants you see in the shop and I find that the fresh cut basil doesn’t last very long. So instead I bought a pot of frozen basil which is always there when I need it. Obviously fresh basil will be the most flavoursome and the frozen basil won’t be ideal for everything but it worked well in this recipe.

Each pepper (two halves) is less than 250 calories so it makes a perfect light lunch or you could use half a pepper as a starter.

2 red peppers, halved and de-seeded
16 cherry tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, minced
100g feta cheese, crumbled
Fresh basil
Spray oil
Pepper

  1. Spray a baking tray with oil. Put the four pepper halves on the tray and divide the ingredients between them

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  1. Spray again with oil and put in the oven for 40-45 minutes
  2. Serve with a green salad

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