Braised beef and ale stew

Anchovies are the secret ingredient in Rachel Allens hearty family stew they really bring out the flavour
By Rachel Allen
Braised beef and ale stew
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 600 g stewing beef, (eg shin) trimmed and cut into 2cm chunks
  • 4 carrots, peeled and finely sliced
  • 4 banana shallots, peeled and finely sliced
  • 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 500 ml beef or chicken stock
  • 250 ml beer, (see Cooks tips below)
  • 30 g can anchovies, drained and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped rosemary

To serve

  • baked potatoes
  • buttered savoy cabbage

Tips and Suggestions

Rachel used Tumblehome from Earl Soham Brewery, as they use Cherry Farm hops in their beer.

The saltiness of the anchovies works really well in this recipe to bring out a deep meaty flavour. You can leave them out though if you really want.


1. If you plan to cook the stew in the oven rather than on the hob, preheat the oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2.

2. Put a large ovenproof casserole dish over a medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, then add the beef, in batches, and cook until browned. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set aside.

3. Add 1 more tablespoon of the oil to the casserole, stir in the shallots, carrots and garlic and toss these for 1 minute. Return the beef to the pan and pour in the stock and beer. Bring to the boil, cover, reduce the heat and simmer gently on the hob or transfer to the preheated oven for 1-1½ hours, until the meat is tender. (Depending on the cut of meat, it may even take a bit longer.)

4. During the last 10 minutes of cooking time, stir the anchovies into the casserole amongst the meat pieces and allow them to melt into the stew. When the stew is cooked, remove the dish from the oven, add the chopped rosemary and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

5. Serve with baked potatoes and buttered savoy cabbage.

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