Signature Dish of LadyJane

Beef & Guinness Stew

Preheat oven to 180DegC.

6 capsicum
2 to 3 heads of garlic
EV Olive Oil
1-2Kg lean beef, cubed
4 brown onions, sliced
1 Tblsp tomato paste
1 Ltr beef (or vegetable) stock OR 1/2 Ltr stock plus 1/2 Ltr passata
1 can (approx 400ml) Guinness
1 Tbls herbs - rosemary, marjoram, oregano, parsley
2 or 3 fresh bay leaves

Optional Extras:

3 or 4 potatoes, cubed
1 large orange sweet potato, cubed
1 parsnip, cubed
1 swede, cubed
1 cup cubed butternut pumpkin
1 cup frozen peas - or fresh!

Place 6 large capsicum (bell peppers) into baking pan, together with 2 or 3 heads of garlic. (Yep, I know it seems a lot, but once they are baked they are very, very mellow...and so, so very delicious!) Drizzle with evoo, thoroughly coating skins of both garlic and capsicums and bake for around 40 minutes. Turn at least once to promote even cooking. Once cooked, remove capsicums and place in freezer bags and tie off - this aids in the eventual removal of non-digestible skin). Squeeze garlic from husks and mash. Once the capsicums have cooled sufficiently to handle, deseed and slice or dice - your choice. In same (hot) pan add cubed/diced beef steak. Season with freshly ground black pepper and toss through the capsicum juices/oil. Return baking dish to oven and cook for around 30 minutes, tossing meat once or twice during this time (saves on standing over cook top browning meat in a casserole!!) Into large, heavy based (preferably Le Crueset) dutch oven/casserole, add 2 Tblsp olive oil and saute 4 large, finely sliced brown onions. Add the mashed garlic and add 1 Tblsp tomato paste. Fry for one minute.

Add 1Litre beef stock, or half and half of beef stock and passata (tomato puree) then add the roasted beef. Stir well and add 1 large can of Guinness - secret ingredient! can substitute plain old lager/beer, but the Guinness gives it a lovely dark, rich gravy! - then add the beef and stir well. Add capsicums. Add freshly chopped herbs of choice (around 1 Tblsp. all up - I use rosemary, marjoram, oregano, parsley & bay) Simmer for at least one hour - preferably two. This will be much nicer day two (or three, if it lasts that long!) Serve with boiled then mashed potatoes (boiled with a couple of cloves of garlic, then smashed and add 1 whole egg - gives a lovely creamy texture to the mash & the heat of the spuds cooks the egg) and whatever veg you like. Main serving accompaniment is thickly sliced crust bread with lashings of fresh REAL butter!

Sometimes I add chopped potato, sweet potato, frozen peas, turnips, pasnips, swedes, pumpkin to the stew at intervals so that all veg are cooked (but not stewed to obliteration) by the time the meat is cooked & tender. Other times I serve up an 'Irish Stew' - meat, onions, potato, with other veg on the side. All I can say is that the roasted meat cubes really, really were delicious - much more so than cubed/diced meat which was stir fried at the stove top and then stewed. PLUS it had the juices from the capsicum/garlic to infuse before the slow cooking process started. Family gave it a wholehearted thumbs up - and they were thoroughly smitten with my previous method!

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