Beef and oyster stew

Try Rachel Allens take on a classic dish, best served with garlicky crushed potatoes
By Rachel Allen
Beef and oyster stew
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the stew

  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 700 g lean stewing beef, chopped into 1inch cubes
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1-2 onions, finely chopped
  • 225 g mushrooms, chopped
  • 425 ml Irish stout
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 12 oysters, shells removed, juices strained and reserved

For the roast garlic crushed potatoes

  • 1 large head garlic, left whole
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 kg small floury potatoes, such as desiree, skin on
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 sprigs rosemary

For the cabbage and kale

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 450 g Savoy cabbage and kale, roughly chopped

Tips and Suggestions

Cooks note
Like most stews, this is great made a couple of days in advance and put in the fridge, to allow the flavours to develop.


1. For the stew: season the flour with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss the beef in the flour. Heat the sunflower oil in a large, heavy-based pan and sear the beef, in small batches, for 2-3 minutes at a time, or until browned all over. Remove the beef from the pan.

2. Fry the onions and mushrooms in the same pan, for 2-3 minutes or until softened. Return the beef to the pan, then pour over the stout, scraping up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and reserved oyster juices and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

3. Mix well, cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 1 hour and 30 minutes over a low heat, or until the beef is tender. Remove from the hob and add the oysters to the pan and cover (the residual heat will cook the oysters through gradually, or you may prefer to simmer the oysters over a low heat for 2-3 minutes).

4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 6.

5. For the roast garlic potatoes: place the whole head of garlic in a small oven-proof dish, drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and add the sprig of rosemary. Cover with aluminium foil and roast for about 45 minutes, or until the garlic has completely softened. Set aside to cool, then gently separate the cloves and squeeze the softened garlic out into a bowl with your fingers. Discard the skins.

6. Place the potatoes into a large pan of cold water with a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, then cook for about 10 minutes. Drain off two-thirds of the water, then return the pan to a medium-low heat and cook for a further 8-10 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Drain the potatoes, then return them to the pan.

7. Add the roasted garlic to the potatoes and, using the back of a fork, lighty mash the potatoes and garlic together. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

8. For the cabbage and kale, heat the butter in a pan until foaming, then add the vegetables along with a splash of water. Cook for 5-6 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

9. Spoon the stew into shallow bowls with the crushed potatoes and buttered cabbage and kale served alongside.

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