Braised beef in Yorkshire ale

Serves 4

Try to buy beef from one cut rather than just diced stewing beef, which is often a mixture of cuts and will take different cooking times.

600g of braising beef, preferably flank, skirt or silverside, cut into rough 2-3cm chunks
250-300ml Yorkshire ale
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
1tsp chopped thyme
1 bayleaf
Vegetable oil for frying
30g butter
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1½tbsp plain flour
½tsp tomato purée
1½ltrs beef stock (a good cube will do)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy frying pan, lightly flour the meat with ½tbsp of the flour, season with salt and pepper and fry the meat on a high heat until nicely browned.

Heat the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan and gently fry the onions, garlic, thyme and bayleaf for a few minutes until soft.

Add the flour and tomato purée and stir over a low heat for a minute. Slowly add the ale, stirring constantly to avoid lumps forming. Bring to the boil and simmer until it has reduced by half.

Add the beef stock and the pieces of beef, bring back to the boil, cover with a lid and simmer gently for about 2-2½ hours until the meat is tender (you could use a pressure cooker and it will cook in half the time). It's difficult to put an exact time on braised meats, sometimes an extra half an hour may be required, depending on the meat itself. The best way to check is by actually tasting the meat.

The sauce should have thickened to a gravy-like consistency; if not, dilute a little cornflour in some water and stir into the sauce and simmer for a few minutes. To serve, just spoon the beef into the Yorkshires.

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