This hearty, slow-cooked stew is easy to throw together and creates very little washing up.
3-4 tbsp groundnut oil
2 onions, peeled and roughly diced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 celery sticks, trimmed and cut into large pieces
1 x 400g/14oz tin good-quality plum tomatoes
1 tsp crushed black peppercorns
2 fresh bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
500g/1lb 2oz diced braising beef
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based casserole over a medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery and fry for 4-5 minutes, or until softened but not browned.
Add the plum tomatoes, crushed black peppercorns, bay leaves and thyme and continue to cook, stirring regularly, for 3-4 minutes.
Stir in the seasoned flour and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the beef to the vegetable mixture, then pour in the pale ale and bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering and simmer gently for 3 hours, stirring every 20-30 minutes, until the beef is tender enough to be cut with a spoon.
Serve the beef and ale stew either in bowls with thick slices of fresh bread, or on plates with mashed potato and green vegetables.
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