- 85g unsalted butter, plus extra for spreading
- 4 onions, halved and sliced
Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 1½ kg/3lb 5oz stewing steak, cut into large cubes
Steak is essentially a boneless thick or thin slice of red meat, cut across the grain of a large…
- 850ml beef stock
- 1½ tbsp plain flour
- 400ml can Guinness
- about 10 thyme sprigs, tied into a bunch
This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp light muscovado sugar
- 2 tsp red wine vinegar
- 2-4 tbsp mushroom ketchup (optional, see Know-how, below)
The mushroom is a fungus which comes in a wide range of varieties that belong to two distinct…
- 1 celery heart, trimmed and sliced
A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…
- about 2 tsp Marmite
- about 25 thin slices French bread (about ¾ baguette - day-old is fine)
Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Melt half the butter in a large cast-iron casserole over a medium heat, add the onions, then fry for 8-12 mins until golden, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic just before the end, then transfer everything to a bowl. Turn the heat up a little, season the beef with salt and pepper and seal it in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan, adding a knob of the remaining butter with each one. Deglaze the pan with a little stock as you go along.
Return the onions and beef to the pan, sprinkle over the flour, stir, then pour over the Guinness and stock. Add the herbs, sugar, vinegar, mushroom ketchup (if using) and some seasoning. Bring the liquid to the boil, cover, then cook in the oven for 1½ hrs. If serving on the day, skim the fat off at this stage.
Remove the casserole and turn the oven up to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Discard the herbs, check for seasoning, then add the celery. Mix the remaining butter with about 2 tsp Marmite, then spread it over the slices of French bread on one side. Arrange the slices, Marmite-side up, overlapping on top of the casserole, then return to the oven for another 30-40 mins until the toasts are golden and crisp. Serve straight away.
Know-howMushroom ketchup, a traditional condiment in use since Victorian times, adds an earthy richness to sauces, stews and soups. Geo Watkins is the most common brand – find it in the sauces section of most supermarkets for £1.09/170ml bottle.