Father and Son Stew

I am the kind of guy that does not read instruction manuals or follow set directions. I especially never follow recipes. This approach means often means that constructing Ikea furniture often ends in prolific blasphemy but that cooking is always a voyage of discovery. This recipe was basically restricted to what I had in the larder but in the end was fantastic, perhaps mainly because the quality of the ingredients was top-notch. It is becoming increasingly apparent through our efforts to buy only British that the supermarkets are not the best place to get the best quality produce at the best price.

Anyway, I started the preparation for this recipe at 10am this Sunday morning and because the recipe requires booze it did mean that the drinking started early.

Father and Son Stew

500g of stewing steak (I actually used braising stake and it was a little too lean) if you can use Ox cheek you are on to a winner!

The key is quality ingredients

1 large leek

1 onion

10-12 small carrots

1 swede

5-6 large cloves of British Garlic (Ours is from the Isle of Wight Garlic Farm and is huge)

Carrs Sauce Flour

Celery salt (ideally proper celery)

Knob of butter

A glug of rapeseed oil

1-2 beef Oxo cube

A dash of Worcestershire sauce

3 dried bay leaves

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

The secret ingredient is 1 bottle (minus a few slugs for the chef) of Sambrook’s Wandle Ale

The main event!

Cut your steak into 1″ cubes salt and brown in a pan with a large nob of English butter and a dash rapeseed oil. Throw some salt in (and If you are not being as strict as us in your effort to buy only British then some black pepper). Once browned an all sides take out of the pan and let it rest while you and your and your 2 year old son chop the veg (2 year old son optional). Make sure that you don’t chop your veg too small. I left some of the smaller carrots whole.

Fry the onion first and then all of your veg in the same pan (if you have some celery add about 2 sticks – I did not have any so added celery salt).

Lucan cutting carrots

Make sure all of your veg is sweated down a little then re-add the meat. Then add your whole garlic. Do not be tempted to chop the garlic as there is nothing better than finding a sweet chunk of stewed garlic in your dinner.

At this point add as much of a bottle of ale or stout as you have not drunk and a dry beef stock cube. An a dash of Worcestershire sauce, the bay leaves and rosemary. Now the key ingredient is time.

I left mine in a low oven of 150c for 6 hours. Take it out every 2 hours and stir lightly so as not to break up the veg too much.

After 6 hours of cooking you should be left with about 1″ of sauce left in the bottom of the pan. This sauce will be quite thin still so add some sauce/corn flour to thicken it up slightly. Your sauce should add a gloss to the meat and the veg without being too watery.

I served mine with mashed potatoes made with a blog of butter and a generous table spoon full of garlic mayo.

Let us know how you get on!

Beautifully dark and moist winter stew


– James and Lucan





  1. fredsmith@nonefoyourbusiness.com says

    Nice one the cooking time is a bit long though. It have cost you a fortune

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  2. Fred, if you have a Rayburn or Aga, then it is likely to be already on this time of year – so leaving a stew in one of its ovens all day wont really add any cost. Or maybe James and Lucan have solar PV panels!

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  3. Or, for those of us without an Aga or the budget to leave an oven on for so long, get a slo-cooker instead. They’re economical, and safe to leave unattended. No idea if they’re made in Britain, but they are ideal for recipes like this.

    Interesting blog, by the way.

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