Grass Fed and Finished Beef and Mushroom Stew
This recipe is an adaptation of Nagi's (from Recipe Tin Eats) Epic Chunky Beef and Mushroom pie (we also love her Irish Beef and Guinness Stew). We've made a couple of tweaks, including replacing harder-to-find porcini mushrooms with more widely available (and more economical) shiitake mushrooms as well as removing or changing some of the inflammatory ingredients for anyone faced with autoimmune or gluten sensitivities. Serves 6 - 8.
1kg Ethical Farmers grass fed & finished diced beef (two packs)
1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
2 tbsp of our grass fed & finished beef fat
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, finely diced
2 sticks celery, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
300g - 400g purple sweet potato (with the white flesh), chopped into 2cm cubes (use orange if you can't get your hands on purple)
400g Swiss brown mushrooms, try to pick small ones—otherwise chop larger ones into halves or quarters
3 sprigs thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
250g Ethical Farmers pasture raised streaky bacon
300 ml dark ale (substitute with red wine if you are following a gf or autoimmune protocol)
500 ml beef stock (homemade if you can, using grass fed & finished beef bones)
1/3 cup arrowroot*
- Soak the mushrooms in a small bowl with the boiling hot water while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
- Season beef with salt and pepper.
- Heat beef fat in stew pot. Brown the beef (you should hear a convincing sizzle) in three quick batches so as to not overcrowd the beef. Remove the beef and set aside.
- Reduce the heat, add more beef fat if needed and sauté the onion and garlic. Cook until they are beginning to soften before adding the chopped carrots and celery and cooking until they have partly softened.
- Add flour and stir.
- Add ale and beef stock, stirring until flour has combined.
- Add thyme, bay leaves, cooked beef, shiitake mushrooms (chop them first) and their soaking liquid. Taste, then season with salt and pepper.
- Bring to a gentle simmer, then cover. Check the simmer doesn't get too enthusiastic once you pop the lid on. Cook for 1.5 hours or until beef is tender. The sauce will transform to a rich, flavourful stew as the water evaporates and the flavours deepen.
- While this is happening, cook bacon until it's melty (not crispy). Remove bacon and use the fat left in the pan to coat the Swiss brown mushrooms, cook for about 3 minutes.
- Add the cooked bacon and mushrooms and uncooked sweet potato to the stew, cook uncovered until sweet potato is soft.
Serve with fresh parsley, mash (parsnip, cauliflower or traditional potato) and steamed green beans and broccoli. This stew is even better the next day and perfect for batch cooking and freezing.
*Arrowroot is derived from a tuber plant, not grain but can be swapped for any flour. You can add more arrowroot if the stew is too runny or more liquid if it is too dry.