Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Guinness casserole with dumplings

Just before Christmas I was trying to work out what other than turkey I was going to feed the extended family - I knew we were having Ham, egg and chips for Christmas Eve supper, but was at a bit of a loss. I was contacted to ask if I'd make a recipe using Guinness. The only thing I've cooked with Guinness previously was cake I use a Nigella recipe that I've worked into cupcakes as well as a big cake. 

The original recipe was for a venison stew - apparently venison is not purchaseable in North London the week before Christmas. None was to be found in Sainsburys or Tesco and our Butcher gently pointed out that he was up to his ears in turkeys and could I come back after Christmas. Undeterred, I adapted the recipe using shin of beef and some extra veggies. 

I should point out that the quantities below made loads - we had 16 portions in total, so have had it in the freezer and it's just as yummy as a freezer surprise dinner and warmed through. M made a good point that as it thickens up when you freeze it, then it would be a fantastic pie filling. I've finished it for now, so will have to make it again (such a hardship) to try that out. Overall, it's a warming, stick to your ribs, stew - the guinness flavour is there but not overwhelming, but really tasty. 

Because of the quantities of the original recipe I had to split the stew into 2 as I don't have a casserole or anything big enough - the first time I made it using the first method - which was the one I was given, the second time I used the second method which is closer to how I would normally make a casserole. The results were very similar - just the sauce/ gravy on the second one was much reduced. 

Guinness Dublin Porter stew

100ml Olive oil
2 White onions (I used red)
2 Garlic cloves3 Bay leaves
1tbsp Ground allspice
 2kg Venison (I used shin of beef), diced
500g Carrots
500g Swede 
500g Parsnips - my addition
300g mushrooms - my addition
1litre Water - I used a stock pot for some extra depth
1.2litres GUINNESS Dublin Porter
Salt and pepper

Chop your onions, crush the garlic and peel and chop the veggies into largeish chunks. Soften your onions and garlic in the olive oil and add your beef/ venison - brown off to seal. Put the water/ stock and Guinness into a pan and bring to the boil. Add the sealed venison, turn it down and leave it to simmer for 10 minutes. If any foam rises to the top just skim it off like you would stockAdd veggies and spice and continue to simmer for between an hour and 90 minutes.  

My adapted method 

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C
Chop your onions, crush the garlic and chop the veggies into largeish chunks
Soften the onions, and garlic in the olive oil over a low heat and seal your beef/ venison. Remove from the pan and deglaze it with a little of the Guinness. 
Add your veggies, meat, the rest of the Guinness, stock, herbs and spices. 
Cook in a covered casserole in the oven for 2 hours or until you have a gorgeously thick gravy, and super tender meat. If your beef/ venison doesn't fall apart when you touch it, then pop it back in the oven. 

I made dumplings to go with this 

3oz suet
3oz self-raising flour
1-2 tablespoons water
Salt and pepper

In a bowl mix the suet, flour and water to make a soft, slightly sticky dough
Roll the dough into ping-pong ball size dumplings and add a little chopped thyme, salt & pepper
Add to the casserole (making sure there's lots of gravy to cook them in) about 45 minutes before the end of cooking.

Funnily enough, Guinness used to be recommeded to breastfeeding mothers to build up their strength - whilst I cant see that catching on nowadays, I have to say that making a hearty stew of this kind was Guinness certainly gave this breastfeeding mother a real boost in the middle of a very busy, cold, and dreary December.


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