Paul Mercurio combines his love of food and a good beer in this recipe from his book.
- 90ml olive oil, approximately
1 leek, white part only, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
100g piece of hot pancetta, diced
1kg stewing beef, cut into 4cm chunks
1 bunch fresh lemon thyme
9 baby onions, peeled
7 garlic cloves
3 tblspns Madeira
1 tblspn plain (all-purpose) flour
3 carrots, sliced on the
diagonal 1cm thick
2 x 330ml bottles of a Trappist ale, such
2 as Chimay Red or Chimay Blue
250ml good-quality beef stock
3 orange peel strips, white pith removed
3 dried bay leaves
125g tinned crushed tomatoes
8 Swiss brown mushrooms, wiped clean,
300g green beans, topped, tailed, cut into
2 5cm lengths
3 tblspns chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
Heat half the olive oil in a deep flame-proof casserole dish over medium heat. Add the leek and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Add the celery and pancetta and cook for another 5 minutes, then remove the mixture from the
Add another 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the dish and brown half the beef over high heat until well coloured. Shake the bunch of thyme over the beef while it browns so that a good pinch of leaves falls on top. When beef is browned, remove from dish using tongs and place on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up any excess oil.
Brown the rest of the beef, again adding some thyme, then remove to the plate with the other beef. Return the dish to medium-high heat, add a little more oil if needed, then add the onions and garlic. Stir them around the dish and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are coloured and their fragrance fills the air.
Add the Madeira and scrape the base of the dish with a wooden spoon to deglaze and loosen all the stuck-on bits. Tip the beef back in and scatter the flour over. Give it all a good mix, then add the carrots, leek, celery and pancetta mixture and stir through.
Still over the medium-high heat, add the beer and stock and stir until the mixture comes to the boil. Add the orange zest, bay leaves, tomatoes, a good pinch of sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper.
Stir again, then reduce heat to simmer. Cover with lid and simmer about 40 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, with lid off, for 20 minutes. Add beans and cook a final 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir parsley
through. Serve with creamy mashed potato or some boiled baby potatoes.