Melbourne has had a very mild Autumn so far. Until just a few days ago the temperatures have been relatively warm – a few fresh mornings, but plenty of sunshine to warm the bones. I always get a little crush on my city at this time of year when the leaves are vivid shades of orange and scattered all over the street. Seasons make this little Queenslander so damn happy.
And then? This week happened. All of a sudden Melbourne’s temperatures have plummeted, the rain has arrived and the winds have been icy. My workmates have been turning up in tights and boots, scaves, coats and sulky faces.
Winter is coming. And it’s my favourite.
I got up at 5.30am this morning to start making this incredible stew. I discovered the recipe earlier in the week and I was immediately hooked – it sounded so rich and decadent. The killer secret is that there’s no stock, no water… the only liquid is strong, dark ale.
I left it to cook on my kitchen bench all day while we were at work, and by the time I got home it was perfect! The aroma was so strong that I could smell it from the driveway, and my poor dog was wreck from the delicious smells that had tortured him all day.
So, trust me. You really need to do this. But don’t feed it to your dog, not even if he wags his little puppydog tail.
- Canola oil
- 1kg casserole beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 3 Tablespoons flour
- 750g thickly sliced mushrooms
- 660mL brown ale or dark beer (but not a stout)
- 6 large carrots, cut into large pieces
- 2 large onions, cut into eighths
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2½ Tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1 bay leaf
- salt & pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the beef and brown on all sides, turning frequently, for about 5 minutes. Transfer the meat to the slow cooker.
- Return the saucepan to medium heat, add mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms give off their liquid and it evaporates to a glaze (approx 5 to 7 mins).
- Sprinkle flour over the mushrooms; cook undisturbed for 10 seconds, then stir and cook for 30 seconds more. Pour in dark ale; bring to a boil and keep stirring to reduce foaming. Cook until thickened and bubbling (approx 3 minutes). Transfer the mushroom mixture to the slow cooker.
- Add carrots, onion, garlic, mustard, caraway seeds, bay leaf and salt & pepper to taste. Stir to combine.
- Cover the slow cooker with lid and cook on low until the beef is very tender, 8-10 hours. Discard the bay leaf before serving.
I’ve made some modifications to the recipe that this is based on, mostly because my slow cooker is pretty big. You can find the original over here.
(Potatoes and peas would be an excellent addition to the stew although I really enjoyed the simplicity of this recipe just the way it is.)
What’s your favourite Winter comfort food?