Autumn is definitely here, which means the days are getting shorter and I just crave comfort food! As is traditional in our house, I made a Parkin to mark the start of the new season, and I made a yummy Guinness Parkin (click here for the recipe) which doesn’t use a whole can of Guinness. So I wanted to find a recipe to use up the rest of it! I thought about making a pie, but decided to make a pie mix but with cobbler instead.
For the filling
1 kg/2lb 4oz braising steak, cut into matchbox-sized pieces
3 tbsp plain flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
300ml/ 1/2 pint brown ale (I used Guinness)
2 garlic cloves
250g/ 9oz carrots
1 fresh or dried bay leaf
handful fresh thyme sprigs
300ml/ 1/2 pint good quality beef stock (I used a Knorr beef stock pot)
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
250g button mushrooms
For the cobbler
200g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp mixed herbs
2 tsp oil
150ml plain, unsweetened yoghurt
1. Mix the beef with the flour and some salt and pepper. An easy way to do this without making too much mess is to put everything into a large food bag, seal, then shake well.
2. Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a large heatproof casserole up to a medium heat, then add half of the beef, shaking off the excess flour and keeping the chunks well-spaced so they fry rather than sweat. The original recipe says to brown for about 10 minutes, but it didn’t take that long so just cook until golden-brown all over.
3. Transfer the first batch of meat to a bowl, then add a splash of brown ale or water to the pan and scrape up any meaty bits. Tip the liquid into the bowl of meat. Wipe out the pan with some kitchen paper, then add a tablespoon of oil and brown the second batch of beef. When the beef is golden-brown transfer it to the bowl and set aside. Repeat until all the beef is cooked.
4. Chop the garlic, onion, and carrots into chunky pieces. Add the final spoon of oil to the pan and heat gently. Add the vegetables and herbs to the pan and fry to soften for a few minutes.
5. Put the beef back into the pan. Pour in the stock and brown ale, then add the tomato purée and balsamic vinegar. If necessary, add a little more stock or hot water to ensure the meat is covered in liquid (this will prevent the beef from drying out). Bring to the boil then cover and simmer the stew for 1-1½ hours until the beef is almost tender and the sauce has thickened. Chop the mushrooms in half and then add about half an hour in, stirring well.
6. The original recipe then says to set aside to cool, overnight if possible. But we wanted to have this for dinner (and I hadn’t started it early enough) so I just put some of it into an oven proof dish whilst making the cobbler. Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas mark 6.
7. Make the cobbler dough by sifting plain flour and baking powder into a bowl. Mix in the herbs. Make a well in the centre and pour in the oil and yoghurt, bringing it all together to make a soft, but not sticky dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and cut into rounds, and then place them on top of the meat.
8. Cook in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the cobbler is golden brown. Enjoy!