KEEP cosy in this wet and windy weather with a comforting, warming braised beef hotpot.

The beauty in this dish is that not only is it an easy peasy one-pot wonder but it won’t hurt the purse springs either.

If you want to keep the costs down, you can use cheaper braising cuts of beef. Ask your butcher for beef shin or cheeks which tend to be more richer flavourful cuts.

Serve this hearty easy sharing dish with creamy mash potatoes or crusty bread. You could also roast some root vegetables to use as a side-dish.

So: Braised beef and ale. You will need a large, shallow, flameproof casserole of 6 pint (3.5 litre) capacity with a tight-fitting lid. Serves 4 Preheat the oven to gas mark 1, 250F, 130C.

For the casserole;

2 tbsp veg oil

1 K stewing beef – shin or cheek are ideal.

500ml ale

100ml beef stock

40g plain flour, seasoned with 1 level teaspoon salt and some freshly milled black pepper

2 tbsp tomato puree

2 tbsp treacle

400g carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

1 lge white onion diced

3 good sprigs fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

2 star anise

salt and freshly milled black pepper

For the garnish;

1 tbsp veg oil

200 diced smoked bacon

350g chestnut mushrooms ¼’ed

1 tbsp chopped parsley


1. Place seasoned flour in a lge bowl or a plastic bag, add beef, coat with flour and shake off excess.

2. Heat oil in casserole dish over med heat, add beef and brown on both sides for 2 min, remove and add carrots and onions to casserole and fry over med heat for 2/3 min till nicely browned.

3. Add beer, stock, thyme, puree, treacle, bay leave, star anise, salt and pepper and bring to a boil, add beef, cover and put to oven for 4½ hrs approx.

4. For the garnish fry mushrooms and bacon in veg oil till nicely browned and bacon is crispy, add parsley.

5. Divide the stew between plates and sprinkle over mushroom bacon mix and serve with creamy mash.