From Marsh Mash December 2010

This tasty beef stew is just what we needed to get through the recent coldest spell we have experienced for 30 years, so here is my Beef Stew recipe for success.

PLEASE NOTE - This recipe uses a Pressure Cooker (the hob version is at the end)


  • A bottle of your favourite beer or cider
  • 1 large Onion, chopped
  • Cooking Oil for frying (vegetable oil is ideal)
  • 12oz (376g) Stewing or Braising Steak, cubed
  • 3oz (75g) Dried Stew Mix (or a mixture of dried lentils, pearl barley and split peas or a selection of tinned beans/pulses – i.e. butter beans, kidney beans, Berlotti beans, Cannellini beans, chick peas)
  • 1lb 8oz (750g) mixed Root Vegetables (i.e. carrots, swede, parsnip, turnips), peeled and cut or cubed into ¾" pieces
  • 1 medium Leek, well washed and sliced into ½" lengths (use the white and green parts)
  • 8oz (250g) baby potatoes, halved (Annabelle, Anya, Charlotte, Jersey Royal or any new potato, are all good varieties) OR 12oz (376g) firm old potatoes, cut into ¾" cubes (Estima or Osprey are ideal)
  • 500ml bottle of good, strong, flavoursome beer (I used Woodfordes Nutcracker @ 7%)
  • 2 x Beef Stock Cubes or 2 x tablespoons of Liquid Bovril
  • Good shake of Worchester Sauce


  • Dried Mixed Herbs (I used 4 tablespoons) or Dried Bouquet Garni (use 3 tablespoons)
  • 6oz (200g) Sweet Corn (tinned or frozen)
  • 6oz (200g) Frozen Peas (you can use tinned Garden Peas if you wish)
  • 14oz (400g) tin of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 6oz (200g) small whole Button Mushrooms (you can use tinned mushrooms, whole or sliced)
  • 1 pint (500ml) Water, plus extra as required
  • Gravy Granules, for thickening

Open your chosen beer/cider, pour it into a glass and have a few mouthfuls – now you are ready to make the stew (if you are using the same type of beer for the stew, you will need at least 2 bottles, as one 500ml bottle is needed for this recipe).

  1. Heat the oil in the pressure cooker pan, add the onions and fry for 3 minutes.

  2. Add the meat and cook until brown, stirring it all the time.

  3. Turn the heat down, then add dried stew mix (or tinned beans, etc), root vegetables, leeks, potatoes - stir well. Pour over the strong beer and add enough water to cover the contents in the pan (note: you can add a full-bodied red wine instead of the beer or a plain beef stock).

  4. Turn the heat back up. Add the crumbled stock cubes or liquid Bovril, Worchester Sauce, herbs/bouquet garni and seasoning – stir well to mix.

  5. Put the lid and a 15lb (or high) weight/s on the pressure cooker and bring up to pressure. When reached, turn the heat down and cook for 10 minutes (under pressure).

  6. Turn heat off and allow pressure to reduce slowly (allow 10-15 minutes).

  7. Remove the lid, add sweet corn, peas, tomatoes, mushrooms, 1 pint (500ml) water - stir well.

  8. Turn heat back on and gently bring stew back to the boil, stirring all the time - when boiling, turn the heat down so the stew is simmering. Add dumplings, if using – see recipe below.

  9. Bring stew back to a simmer, then add gravy granules to thicken, stirring all the time until desired consistency reached (I use about 3 tablespoons).

Serve stew on its own, with creamy mashed potato, thickly cut bread & butter or dumplings.

Dumplings (per person) – mix 2oz (50g) SR Flour with 1oz (25g) suet (add 1 teaspoon of dried mixed herbs to dry mixture to make herby dumplings if you wish) and combine with enough water to form a dough. Divide mix into 2, form into balls and add to stew at stage 8. Cook for 5 minutes then GENTLY stir stew - try not to disturb dumplings, as they may fall apart! Continue cooking for a further 5 minutes, remove dumplings and place on a warm plate/dish. Continue from stage 9.

This recipe can be made on the hob by using a large heavy-based saucepan or a hob-proof casserole pan (both will require a lid), as follows:

  • Follow steps 1 to 4, as above
  • Step 5 - bring stew back to the boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cover pan with a lid, leaving partially open to allow steam to escape.
  • Step 6 – continue simmering for about 1½ hours or until the meat is tender and vegetables are soft, stirring well occasionally to avoid sticking. If using dried vegetables, cooking time may take longer to allow them to soften and if using tinned beans/pulses, add them at stage 6, after 1 hour of cooking time otherwise they may break up
  • When meat/vegetables ready, continue from step 7, as above