Friday 2 May 2014

Wednesday Weekly: Rich Beef & Stout Casserole

After two weeks of "narrowly late but it's still Wednesday in the US so whatever" Wednesday Weekly posts, I'm finally doing one that's inexcusably late! I've got a number of reasons for it, but I guess it's better late than never, so let's get stuck into it.

We've had a lot of freezing cold weather in Melbourne lately, so this casserole was the perfect dish to have. It does take a long time, as casserole would, and it always takes me longer when I'm cooking something for the first time so I decided to start this nice and early -- at 1pm, to be precise! That does sound crazy, but casserole is one of those dishes that you don't need to serve up immediately. It heats through quickly and easily; you don't lose any flavour.

The casserole in question!
Despite it taking me four hours to make (as opposed to the 2 hour 40 minute time estimation for a normal person), it was relatively easy to do.

You cook the meat until it's sealed -- in Padawan terms, that basically means you cook it so that it's brown just on the outside but not the whole way through. It's going to simmer for a looong time so it will definitely cook.

Then you do the shallots (or spring onions, depending on where you are) until they're nice and golden like this. You're supposed to do the mushrooms at this stage too, but we didn't have any unfortunately.

Then goes in the onion and bacon.

This bit was fun -- adding in the stout. Cooking with alcohol is new to me and nobody in my family drinks (except perhaps my stepfather on the odd footy night!), so we rarely have anything like this in the house. I picked up this can for about $4.50 from Dan Murphy's -- I'm not sure if that's a good price or not, but it's what the (perhaps slightly too friendly) manager gave me. Call me a little kid, but it looks like Coke and there's a little ball in it! I kept pouring it in a little bit at a time just to keep watching, I was so excited.

Looks like Cooooke!
Simple things amuse simple minds, okay? :D

Let it sit for an hour or two...
In the end, it should look a little like this.
The end result of the casserole was really nice. It was tasty, the meat was cooked well, and the sauce wasn't soupy, so you can eat it off a plate without it going everywhere. You are supposed to serve this up with veggies and mashed potato (I think sweet potato would be awesome!), but after spending so much time in the kitchen, I just wanted something easy so white rice is was!

Would I make it again? Maybe. Maybe not. I'm sure I could find a tastier recipe than this, and one that I could just stick into a slow cooker. I only deviated from the recipe slightly, and although you'll find the recipe down below (although you can also see it online here), here are a few things to consider:
  • I used 2kg of diced beef, which was probably why it wasn't too saucy or soupy.
  • As I mentioned above, we didn't have any mushrooms (a pity, they're one of my favourites!) so I think that this will also stop your casserole from being too soupy if you do stick to the 1.4kg.
  • I couldn't find the brown sugar, so I used raw sugar instead. Did this have any effect on the flavour? It's possible, but as it tasted good, I don't think it mattered.
  • You may find it easier to use diced bacon from your local deli rather than chopping up bacon yourself.
  • If I were to do this again, I would probably use the massive saucepan instead of the electric frypan-slash-wok -- this is because it is supposed to simmer for two hours, and, as you know, one of the features of the frypan-slash-wok is that it turns off once it reaches the desired heat. It's a handy feature, but not really desirable for a dish like this. As long as you keep an eye on it, the saucepan should be fine!

Rich Beef & Stout Casserole

Serves 6


  • 60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
  • 1.4kg gravy beef, trimmed, cut into 4cm pieces
  • 12 French shallots, trimmed
  • 250g small cup mushrooms, trimmed
  • 1 large brown onion, coarsely chopped
  • 175g bacon, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 440ml can stout, such as Guinness
  • 430ml (1 3/4 cups) beef stock
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. plain flour
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) cold water


  1. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook beef, in 4 batches, for 2 - 3 minutes each side or until browned. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Cook the shallots for 2 minutes or until light golden. Transfer to a plate. Cook the mushrooms for 2 minutes or until light golden. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Heat remaining oil over medium heat. Cook onion for 5 minutes or until soft. Add bacon. Cook for 3 minutes. Stir in garlic for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add stout, stock, thyme, tomato paste, sugar and beef. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover. Simmer for 1 hour.
  4. Add shallots. Simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover. Add mushroom. Simmer for 30 minutes or until beef is tender and sauce reduces. Combine flour and water in a bowl. Gradually stir into the beef mixture. Simmer for 3 minutes or until sauce thickens.
Have you cooked casserole recently? What changes would you make to this?

Sarah xo

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