ADSactly Food - 🍛Beef and Ale Stew🍛

in #food3 years ago

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Here in Cape Town, things are cooling down somewhat. Autumn is here, and Winter is definitely coming. Cape Town is a beautiful place in Winter. The trees lose their leaves, and the mountain looks grey and crisp. Wood smoke fills the air, and I start to layer scarves, coats and boots. Whenever the mercury starts to drop, I start to dream up warm, hearty stews, soups and curries.

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This Beef and Ale Stew is a recipe I learnt from the matriarchal queen of the kitchen, Mary Berry. Growing up in South Africa, with an English ancestry, it was pretty common to put beer in most of our food. My mom has a fabulous beer chicken recipe, and my dad is known for his beer bread. Up until last winter, I had never actually tasted nor cooked a recipe with ale in. Guinness? Sure. But ale? This was something new.

Sometime last year I had a massive case of the flu, and was stuck at home in bed. I wanted something warm, comforting and beefy. I had been watching Mary Berry on repeat, and it was then that I saw this Beef and Ale Stew for the first time. I was intrigued. I set to texting the husband to buy all the needed groceries, and made it that very night. IT WAS HEAVENLY!


So, before I share the recipe with you, let me tell you a little about where the humble stew comes from. I always find that to understand anything in life, it is important to know the history.


stew word tree.png

Middle English (in the sense ‘cauldron’): from Old French estuve (related to estuver ‘heat in steam’), probably based on Greek tuphos ‘smoke, steam’. Sense 1 of the noun (mid 18th century) is directly from the verb (dating from late Middle English).

Stews have been eaten since the beginning of time. In 4th century Scythia (modern day Eastern Europe) the Scythians actually would put the stripped meat of the animal into the rubbery stomach along with water, and boil the meat that way. We've definitely come a long way since then!

The Bible mentions a lentil stew in Genesis, with Esau and Jacob trading their father's dowry for a lentil stew.

Later on, in 14th century France, one of the oldest French cooking books, Le Viandier, lists different types of ragout.

Every country or culture has their own type of stew, and to me, a traditional stew can tell so much about it's country and its history with its flavours and ingredients.

Take for example, the traditional Tex-Mex Chili con Carne, which was created in pre-war Texas and served in traditional "chili parlours". These chili parlours became popular after chili became available in a powder form in 1904. This stew is such an integral piece of American history, that most families have their own version of their secret chili.


Traditional Chili Con Carne - Source

After making this recipe a few times, I have made a few adjustments. It is the most comforting, robust flavour. A pale ale is somewhere between a dark Guinness and a lighter lager, and gives the recipe a round maltiness that is just to die for.

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  • 1kg braising beef, cut into cubes
  • 250g shallots, halved
  • 4 large carrots, cut into thin rounds
  • 250g mushrooms, whole
  • 50g flour
  • 600ml pale ale
  • 150ml liquid beef stock
  • 3 T onion jam
  • 2 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 bay leaves

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Mary Berry serves her stew with dumplings, but I prefer to make some buttery polenta instead. This can be done in the oven for about two hours, as per Mary's recipe, but I prefer to cook low and slow overnight in a slow cooker.

Heat a large pot with a tablespoon of olive oil and fry the beef in batches. The key here is to have space for the beef to breathe, do not crowd the pan. Once the beef is browned, remove from the pan and set aside. Add another tablespoon of oil and add the carrots, shallots and whole mushrooms. Fry for a few minutes.

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In the meantime, add the flour into a small bowl, and pour in a small bit of beer to create a paste. Once you have made the paste, slowly add the rest of the ale.

Next, add the beef back to the pot, and pour in the ale mixture. Stir the mixture until thickened. Add the onion jam.

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Quick Tip: If you don't have onion jam, finely slice an onion into rings, and saute lightly on a low heat with a dash of salt, lid on, until caramelised. This is how you make onion jam!

Add the Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves and cook for a further five minutes.

Transfer to your slow cooker, and cook for between six to eight hours on low, until the meat is tender and the onions start to fall apart.

The whole mushrooms soak up the dark ale flavour and the onions add the most amazing caramel flavour. Serve with rice or polenta, and try not to eat the entire pot in one sitting!

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I hope you have enjoyed cooking along with me. I can't wait to hear your comments and thoughts.


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I do not think that I can find all the ingredients but I will keep the recipe for when I can ... The use of beer in the kitchen: the antioxidants, minerals and vitamins that it has are perfect to combine health and flavor

Yummy! This looks like an amazing stew! I love stews and soups. Usually have a small window here in the Desert of Arizona when it is cold enough to want to eat it. lol But that doesn't stop me from making stew or my favorite ham and potato soup during the summers. Your pictures are great, and thank you for posting the recipe as well! :)

Thanks so much! In Cape Town it is pretty good weather most of the year, but similarly, we have a few cold months and I bang out as many cold weather dishes as possible!

You are welcome! South Africa is definitely on my list of places to visit at some point. That is awesome, what are some of your other favorite cold weather dishes?

Nothing nicer than the original food .. well done the recipe
Great post from you
Thanks for sharing

I love beef stew and this reminds me of when I was in England eating guiness beef cornish pasties from the train station. Good times...

Basically, we are what we eat. I read an article that states the food we eat affects our emotion and behavior. They stresses that people who always eat meat often times so irritable and got angry easily, this is due to accumulated acid becuase of the meat when digest it turns into acidic.

If possible, eating raw vege is much more healthier than cooking eat but some of the vege needs to be cooked to eat. Juicing also is one of the best way to be healthy :)

This is such a common misconception @elizahfhaye. When you eat raw vegetables it's very difficult for the body to extract the nutrition as the minerals are locked in the fibres. It's true that cooking them destroys some nutrients, but it also makes them more bioavailable (absorbable by the body.)

Moreover, juicing is not that healthful at all, especially fruit, which is mostly sugar and water. It's imbalanced because all the fiber is extracted. Of course, the minerals do get concentrated, which is nice. Carrot juice provides some nice calcium and other microminerals.

Lastly, there are many myths about meat-eating. One of them is that meat eaters have more anger problems than vegans/vegetarians. Actually, vegans especially have some of the worst anger issues because they get almost no bioavailable zinc to counterbalance the copper toxicity of a completely vegetable diet. Meat eaters tend to be more calm unless they eat huge amounts of red meat every day, or just overdo it.

Meat, eaten in moderation, can be considered a superfood supplement. It's a very nutrient-dense source of macro and micro minerals that are nearly unable to be obtained from the nutritionally depleted produce of the modern world.

This repeated hearsay about the body becoming acidic, meat anger, raw being best, juicing being healthy, etc. is damaging, because it is simply regurgitated without deeper study into biochemistry.

I'd recommend you to consider studying some articles here to increase your knowledge:

Thanks for these great comments @d-pend and @elizahfhaye. It's good to see that our posts evoke such interesting conversations, and it's cool to see both sides of the debate laid out like this.

I too love vegetables alot. The freshness it offers to the body is also great too. Thanks for the great comment.

chilli con carne aw yea

I love everything to this post, mostly your writting style and the photos. Your introducion is so sweet! I would love to see you in boots! Lady Cat in boots haha :> And OFC, the recipe as well! How couldnt I? It looks really comforting! I would definitely have this in a cold evening, watching a movie and having one of those nights!! Tea, soup, stew = > O.K. !!! Hugs

Ah, thank you for your sweet comment! Movies, blankies, stew and cats - YES GURL!

@adsactly I like your publications, how I know is you, adsactly is a big group. When I was studying in England I enjoyed this stew, my landlady always prepared it because outside was too cold and I was a latin girl not used to cold weather. In Venezuela we have many kinds of stews and we call them HERVIDOS.

One HERVIDO is made with:
rib of beef
pieces of chiken
I boil them till soft, for the ribs I use a pressure pan for 30 minutes and cool it to take out the greese as much as posible
then I put it to boil and start to put all the vegetables: yam, yucca, green plantains, taro root, pumpkin, potatoes, corn cut in pieces, and all the roots you find in your land, all cut in small pieces not too small because they disolve, cook till they are soft
Prepare the green part: coriander leaves, greenpepper, chillis not hot, chives, celery, oregano, garlic, onion, put this in the soup and boil for 15 minutes. The cuantities depend of how many people are going to eat.
Enjoy it.

Oh, this sounds great! I will definitely look into this recipe, as I love learning to make new dishes. Thank you for sharing :)

@princessmewmew thanks for responding now I can see your name, keep publishing recipes I love them

Yummy look

I would love to try it out, but you see some ingredients may be hard to come by in my part of the world. Basically I can easily find carrots, mushroom, flour but all the rest of them would take a lot more stress to find that you wouldn’t even enjoy the meal when you’ve finally made it.
Above this, I can feel the meal and it seems great. Also, I am from one of the best countries in the world. 😃
Lastly, I love the new @adsactly avatar

oh, where are you from?

it look so tasty and yummy. nice and mouth watering post

Can't eat beef (cultural thing) Can eat buffalo meat or mutton. What would be a better substitute?

well, i am not familiar with buffalo, so i would say lamb?

Hmm..lamb is good too.

Really good thing is how to make onion jam. Interesting piece

thanks! That jam is the bomb. You can put it on sandwiches, on top of steak, serve with chicken - it is super versatile!

wow, that sounds lovely. Thanks @princessmewmew for showing the way

wow....the foods are looking soooo delicious and yammy......awesome pictures. thanks for sharing....cheers:-)

yes nice pictures.

thanks! I've really been working on my photography skills super hard

yes.....I must have to say that you are working really hard. the pictures are really good. have u used any filter or these are actual photo?

no filter, but I do some editing in Photoshop to brighten and sharpen the images. Thanks for the encouragement

welcome dear. i like photography and try to do some time. its been always a pleasure for me.

thank for sharing @ adsactly i would like to try it out.

Hi Dear
People like you, are found only once in a lifetime. So you'd better take care of yourself because I don't want to waste another lifetime to find a such a SWEET FRIEND. please Follow me => @kitty24

sounds great and also u look hoooooot.....started following u dear....cheers:-)

wow,,great healthy food,,looks tasty

awesome cooking and aWEsome foods

Wow very healthy and testy food! Thanks to share your good post.

Speacialy very interesting food and healthy food .

I just wish l could get all these ingredients herw in Ghana. Maybe I could try the DIY and see how it goes..l like to practise sometimes but thanks for this beautiful food @adsactly

I'm sure you can get the majority of the ingredients? Maybe use another type of beer?

Yeah thats right..thanks

i like your soup, the nature is to cook a lot It does not make sense if you do not eat soup in the morning I appreciate your soup.

Thanks to share your good post

I swear! I will try this tomorrow!

That's yummy dude..looks delicious!

Oh brother. Does that ever look good. I mean spectacular good.

I love stews when the weather cools, too. My Mom's Beef Stew was to die for and she sometimes used other meat with changed recipes. Comfort food to the max.

I use a slow cooker today, too. It sure makes it easier to hit that sweet spot of consistency.

I'd never considered Chili a stew, but of course, it is. Like everybody in this part of the world I have my 'secret' recipe but I'll tell you that it includes pork, chicken and beef. :)

Thanks for a terrific post. I really enjoyed it, and I am now officially hungry. I think I'll go eat something green....

lolol, you make me laugh!

I just love using the slow cooker cuz I can prep the food and then leave it over night or during the day while I am at work, then come home to an amazing meal.

Please share your chili recipe with me?! I am obsessed with American culture and really want to make an authentic chili.

Love this, i feel like eating it right now,you are very humble to learn from a matriachal queen of kitchen. Keep it up

thank you, your post^_^

i love your work and wish to try this, keep it up

Beef stew is so delicious. With extra veggies included, it is a perfect stew for me. Great post though!

thank you very much!

Hmmmmm different kinds of food from different parts of the world. Wow

You as before - have made a very mouth-watering message. Now I have problems with health and therefore for me the kind of such dishes is very tempting.
Most of the components for me are easily accessible. But there are some that are either inaccessible or scarce. I have a strong desire to try it. Nevertheless, I think this will be an excellent addition to different dishes.

Serve with rice or polenta, and try not to eat the entire pot in one sitting!

If the dish is delicious - it can be hard not to indulge in sin - eat a little more :)
Thanks for the great recipe

i think this is quite a healthy dish @frank1in, I definitely don't think you'll be keeling over from a heart attack after eating :)

Great, your post is okay ..!!

Help me

Ummm, You had me at Beef and Ale!!!! This recipe looks absolutely delicious. What always blows me away about your recipe posts is how professional the pictures look. It literally makes me want to eat the food right now. OUr family loves stews. We just had a Beef and Barly stew on Tuesday night. It was full of mushrooms and all sorts of veggies. I think I will be making this recipe soon. I know the misses will agree!! She will be all over that onion jam!!!

ah thank you so much! I am really concentrating and working hard on my layout and photos, I would love to actually work as a food stylist one day.

and the onion jam is actually super duper easy to make, so go ahead and try it out, on chicken sandwiches, on pizza, on beef dishes, on eggs, on anything!!!

I also love barley

Thanks for your amazing comment xxx

I enjoy a good stew. I have made pork, beef and vegetarian varieties. Also, fricot which is an Acadian stew-like dish. I've never added ale, not yet anyway.

ooh! I will do some research on fricot - I love learning new recipes.. That would make you French-Canadian if I am not mistaken?

Another amazing food post via @princessmewmew and @adsactly. This food is so inspirational and tends to make me very very hungry every time... lol. Loving it. Thank you so much for sharing. Have a blessed day.

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Looks nice, I will tell my girlfriend to try to make it :D

hehe! Why don't you make it for her?

I agree, maybe that is a better idea :D

Your posts are very interesting. Gonna upvote and follow you

Thank you - that is so much appreciated :)

Yummy....its look like delicious..😍

a very good post

What a bless! That looks incredible, thank you very much for sharing it

cant wait to try it out.

It's lunch time in France and I'm hungry to see this post. But I'll stuck to my desk for 1 more hour.. love my job

hehehe! Be patient, lunchtime is coming!

i want to try this look so yummy..

Omg ! looks delicious @adsactly ! Glad your on my auto voter that I check out daily to read and resteem my favorites ! upped and resteemed my freind , thanks for sharing !😋😋😋✌👍

i like your post and please follow us on instagram @gloryburger, thank you :)

Beef stewed from my country, same same but different

Various recipes we use to prepare food for us at different times

Nice, I made one recently but put it in a pie.

hello how are you hear your content are very well prepared a clean material, I would like you to support me since I am new, I would like you to see my content and tell me how they seem, Greetings I hope your answer Follow me and aki my profile link.

hello how are you hear your content are very well prepared a clean material, I would like you to support me since I am new, I would like you to see my content and tell me how they seem, Greetings I hope your answer Follow me and aki my profile link.

So it is the Worcestershire sauce that gave it the brown color :) Looks very delicious and healthy. Served with rice just yummy.
Have to try it out as I love mushrooms in the most dishes. Keep it up!

Actually, it's more the meat and the beer, the Worcestershire is more for flavour :)

Ah OK. I didnt know that the beer can change the color :)

Really looking forward to trying this recipe out. I love finding out about how different countries put different twists on food.

yeah! Super interesting, right? It's my favourite part too

wow it seems delicious and healthy...actually I am curious to try it, but I don't know if I can eat it because I am doing a diet

well, it's not so unhealthy at all - beef and veggies! Keep your portions small and don't have any carbs as a side ;)

ookey Sweety, I will try it soon :*

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