I have included ideas to use the steak & ale base as a pie or a stew. This is a really fulfilling base to experiment with as you wish.
- 2-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 pound beef shin, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2-4 rashers smoky bacon, cut into chunks
- 2-3 onions, chopped coarsely
- Salt to taste
- Fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tablespoon tomato purée
- 1 bottle of your favourite ale
- 250ml beef stock
- A dash of Worcestershire sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- Dredge the pieces of beef in the flour and set aside.
- Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a large cast iron pot set over a medium heat. Once hot, add the beef in batches and cook, browning it on all sides. This should take several minutes.
- Remove the beef from the pot and set aside. Return the pan to the hot stove top.
- Add about 1/4 cup water to the pan (enough to cover the bottom), and scrape up the browned bits left from cooking the beef. Transfer the liquid/mixture from the pan to a bowl, and set it aside.
- Return the pan to the hot stove top. Add 1 tablespoon of oil, and when hot, add the bacon chunks to the pan, cook until brown and sizzling then set aside with the beef. Add the onions to the pan and cook, stirring for about 3 minutes. Add the salt, black pepper, and garlic, and cook for another minute.
- Add the tomato paste to the mixture and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add the beer, broth, beef, the reserved liquid scraped up from the pan, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, thyme and rosemary.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and place in the preheated oven for 90-120 minutes, or until the beef is tender.
Your base is now ready to use as a beautiful pie filling or hearty stew with dumplings.
For a pie:
You could make your own shortcrust or puff pastry lid or even use readymade. Why not try adding blue cheese into the dough for an extra kick of savoury flavour? Try adding peas, carrots and mushrooms to the filling too.
Once the filling is cool, place it into a pie dish and cover with your chosen pastry. Coat the rim of the pie dish with an egg wash to help the pastry stick, before finally placing the lid on the dish.
Once you have placed the lid on the dish, crimp the edges with your thumbs and fingers to form a seal and stop the pastry shrinking during cooking.
Trim the excess pastry from the edge of the dish and coat the top of the pie in egg wash.
Finally cut a cross mark in the centre of the lid of the pie with a knife to allow steam to escape through during the cooking process. This should help avoid a soggy pastry.
Bake the pie in the oven for about 30-40 minutes at 200C
For a stew:
For a stew, add root vegetables such parsnips, swede and carrot. To make dumplings, mix 2oz suet with 4oz self raising flour in a mixing bowl. Add a pinch of salt and herbs of your choice then combine the mix with approximately 5 tablespoons of water or just enough to form a soft but not sticky dough. Divide the dough into 8 balls then when the stew is nearly ready and the beef is tender, place the balls on top of the simmering stew, cover tightly with the lid and allow to cook for a further 20 minutes.
By cooking in the oven, nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan or burns and the sauce bubbles into a velvety coating for the meat and vegetables.