Saturday, 10 December 2011

Beef and Ale Stew with Cheese Scones

So I’ve decided to post a series of cheap midweek suppers, after my friend Maddy asked me if I could suggest some recipes that might mix up her weekly menu a bit. By chance, I’ve been trying to cook on more of a budget of late, particularly through trying cheaper cuts of meats and by eating more vegetarian dishes. What I’ve found is that there is no need to scrimp on flavour, quality or creativity when your counting the pennies, and everyday meals can be just as exciting and interesting as those more expensive special occasion dishes.

The first dish that I wanted to share with you is a delicious and hearty Beef and Ale Stew with Cheese Scones. I can’t tell you how shocked I was with how cheap beef shin and braising steak is; an ample serving for two can be bought for around a pound. Couple that with a few vegetables and some store cupboard products, and you’ve got yourself an affordable meal. I cooked the stew in one big pan, and left the stock and ale to do their magic whilst watching Masterchef, so its hardly labour intensive either. Cooking the beef for two hours made it melt in the mouth, and the addition of the fluffy cheese scones meant all those lovely juices were soaked up.

Adapted from Bills Cook Eat Smile
Serves 2
1 small onion, chopped
1 large stick celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
350g stewing beef, cubed
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
300ml beef stock
1x 275ml bottle of stout
- For the Cheese Scones -
90g self raising flour
25g butter, in small pieces
¼ tsp baking powder
30ml milk
40g cheddar, grated
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Heat a splash of olive oil in a casserole (which has a lid) and cook the onion, carrot and celery over a low heat for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Put the vegetables in to a dish to one side, and then cook the beef in the casserole until browned all over.
  2. Put the vegetables back in the pan and add the tomato, stock and beer, and bring to the boil. Season, put on the lid of the casserole and place in the oven for 1 ½ to 2 hours.
  3. To make the scones, rub the butter, flour and baking powder together with a pinch of salt until the mixture is breadcrumb like, then add the cheese and mix. Pour in enough milk to bind the mixture and make a dough. Roll into walnut-sized balls. Place on top of the casserole for the last 30 minutes of cooking, with the lid on for 15 minutes and then taking it off for the final 15 so they can brown. 

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