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Smokey beef in beer with roasted garlic


I haven’t been posting as frequently as normal last couple of weeks. Two reasons: one, I am at a life crossroads and spending some time thinking about things. Two: the light in winter is such that I find it hard to simply snap away our dinner then post it – which most of my posts are the result of. This was made in the daytime, so it wasn’t an issue. But I know, I should invest in some lighting, but I always think there is simply no substitute for daylight in terms of photography. I shall look into it though as I can’t let that be an excuse. Anyone got a recommendation?

On the former point, there is no need to worry or fret, I have simply arrived at a point in my life where I feel I want to make big, real decisions and changes – all for the better. I’m 37, and finally growing up. I know what makes me happy and what makes me unhappy. I finally feel like I am getting there – it’s good, I’m excited about the future! But, yeah, I had to hit a few lows to get to this point.

As a result of my increased naval gazing (or should that be leaf trampling as my thinking time has mostly involved me walking the dog a lot more?!), I have allowed myself to chill a bit on the Well Worn Whisk front. Insomuch as I didn’t make the advertised Facebook chats over half-term – and also missed an email or two. Please do forgive me, dear readers; I am still figuring out what I want WWW to be, and even though cooking is my passion, I have others too, and I need time to think about how they all fit together. It’s strange having a hobby that also pays some bills (not many, but some). On the one hand it’s your creative outlet and lots of fun; on the other it turns into a business and that changes things. The ambition you have for it can take away the joy – and I don’t want that happen.

Sorry, when you clicked on this recipe you didn’t realise you would be participating in a one sided life coaching session, did you? Ha. Oh well, if you can’t indulge yourself on your own recipe blog, where can you?

So… the recipe. After today’s beautiful walk in Edale, I got back and en route stopped at our brilliant local butcher’s. I picked up some stewing steak and knocked this together with what else I had sitting around – which wasn’t much, as I had a week of missing a supermarket shop so I could use stuff up and empty my freezer (always good to do that once every 6 weeks or so I think). I didn’t have any beef stock or bouillon – so I added a teaspoon of Marmite. Do you know what, it works so well! One to note down for the future! This would make a lovely Bonfire Night recipe if you are having people round.

That’s all for now – speak soon, not too long, I promise!

Serves: 4

Takes: 15 mins + 1.5-2 hours = 2 hours approx


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 500g stewing steak, chopped into bite-size chunks
  • 2 rashers of streaky bacon, smoked, snipped into small pieces
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 2 tablespoons of plain flour
  • 1 bottle of beer, about 440ml
  • Tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary or dried will work too
  • 1 teaspoon of Marmite
  • A little salt and pepper
  • 1 whole garlic bulb, slice very top off and wrap in foil

To serve:

  • Jacket potatoes, cooked in oven at same time


  1. Preheat oven to 150C.
  2. Heat oil in heavy casserole dish. Sweat bacon, onion and carrots until soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add beef and let it seal on a high-ish heat. Once browned, add the flour and stir to distribute. Cook out for 2 minutes.
  4. Tip in beer and Marmite, with herbs too. Season – lightly with the salt as Marmite is salty, as is bacon.
  5. Let it come to boil then pop in oven, along with the garlic wrapped in foil. Put jackets in at same time.
  6. After 1 1/2 hours, unwrap foil and squish the garlic out – pop in stew and stir/mash in to combine. You may feel it has had enough cooking now – or you could pop back in for another 20 mins.
  7. Serve with jackets.


  1. Marina
    November 30, 2016 / 3:08 am

    Can I make it on the stove? Will it work just as well? I don’t have a heavy casserole dish…

    • Rachel Brady
      November 30, 2016 / 10:46 am

      Hi Marina – yes it will, just cook it nice and low for a long time in a big pan. Sainsbury’s do really good casserole dishes that are just like Le Creuset but way, way cheaper by the way! X

  2. Heather Walker
    February 2, 2017 / 1:46 pm


    I’ve started to make this – before putting it in the oven I had a taste and it tastes really bitter. I’m guessing it’s the beer I’ve used. I’m just wondering whether you think once the roasted garlic is added that it will balance out? If not, can you recommend a quick fix??! Thanks, H x

    • Rachel Brady
      February 2, 2017 / 2:18 pm

      Hi Heather! The stew does have a bitter taste but it should only be slightly bitter – that is the beer. As it cooks it should mellow. The garlic won’t counteract it as such. I guess choose a more mellow tasting beer is all I can offer you! Did it turn out OK? Rachel X

      • Heather Walker
        February 2, 2017 / 3:31 pm

        Hi Rachel, it has mellowed loads! Thank you. I’ll take your advice though as use a more mellow beer next time! Looking forward to eating for tea later! X

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