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My Culinary Adventures #14: beef and beer stew with leek and cheese mash and veggies

If you read my blog last week, you may have twigged that I really, really like stew. Particularly beef stew. Particularly beef stew with some kind of alcohol in it. Steak and ale stew really is one of my favourite things. I used to make beef bourguignon at university but I made it using Coleman’s powdered sauce mixed with hot water. It was great but hardly counted as cooking.

Stew actually takes ages to make. To get the meat nice and tender it has to stew for hours. I never seem to have the time the make it. The other day, I was working from home which helpfully meant that I could throw it in the oven early. The Flatmate was also away for the night so I could make it and risk it turning out inedible. I could also have it wish mushrooms (which The Flatmate really dislikes), which I really do miss from my diet.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite afford the highest quality steak and my local Tesco Express only had lagers and not ale, so my steak and ale stew turned into beef and beer. I was nervous about using lager (particularly as I got the cheapest bottle in the store) but then I remembered that I in no way have a discerning palette and so probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Happily, I was right.

I decided to serve it with mash potato, because all good stews should be served with either creamy mash for mixing or chunky chips for dipping. Recently my friend made me mash potato with cheese and spring onion and it was the best mash potato I have ever had. Sadly, I had run out of spring onions but the leeks worked almost as well.

I also had some asparagus and broccoli in the fridge and so threw those in as well. The cooking instructions said to cook in the oven for 30 minutes or steam for 8-10 minutes. I had left it too late for the oven (well not actually but I was too hungry to wait even longer) and I don’t own a steamer so I tried them in the microwave instead (the same friend gave me the idea for that) and it worked! Happy days.



  • 200g diced beef
  • Handful large(ish) mushrooms
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 heaped tsp tomato puree
  • 150ml beer (preferably ale but lager works)
  • 1 mug beef stock
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Optional: pinch of brown sugar

Mash potato and veggies

  • 5-6 medium (ish) potatoes
  • 2 small leeks
  • Handful grated cheddar cheese
  • Dollop butter/margarine
  • Splash of milk
  • 1/2 broccoli
  • 6-8 asparagus


  1. Heat the oven to 160°C.
  2. Fry the beef in some oil until it has browned on the outside (it doesn’t need to be cooked all the way through). Once browned, put it aside.
  3. Slice and dice the onion and mushrooms and fry them, adding the crushed garlic, until they have softened.
  4. Add in the tomato puree and stir so that the mixture is coated.
  5. Add in the beef stock and beer and beef and season with salt and pepper. Also stir in that pinch of brown sugar, if you so choose.
  6. Put the cornflour in a mug and put in just enough cold water to cover it. Stir so that the flour is mixed in. Stir into the sauce until it starts to thicken.
  7. Pour the stew into a casserole dish and pop in the oven for 3 hours. If you don’t have that amount of time, don’t worry, it will still be edible (so long as the beef has cooked properly) but the meat just won’t be as tender. You can always try putting the stew in a saucepan with a lid and simmer on a low heat for 45 minutes, like I did with my goulash.
  8. 30-35 minutes before the stew is done, peel, slice and dice the potatoes and boil for 20-25 minutes, until they are soft.
  9. Before you take the potatoes off the boil, fill a bowl with cold water and pop in the broccoli (broken up into separate stalks) and asparagus and cook in a microwave for 6-8 minutes, depending how soft you like them. If you don’t have a microwave you can cook them in the oven for 30 minutes or steam them for 8-10 minutes.
  10. Once the potatoes are done, drain them and mash them with the butter and milk. Stir in the grated cheese and then add in the leek, sliced.
  11. Serve everything together!

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