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Heat the oil in a large, lidded pan or flameproof casserole and fry the beef in batches for a few minutes over a medium-high heat until browned. Remove to a bowl and set aside. Fry the onion in the same pan over a medium heat for 6-8 mins, or until softened.
Stir in the carrots, celery, thyme and bay, and cook for a few minutes more to soften slightly. Return the beef to the pan, then mix in the tomato purée and flour.
Pour in the stock and ale, season well, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hr. Stir in the pumpkin and cook for 30 mins-1 hr until the veg and beef are tender. Serve with mash or crusty bread for mopping up the gravy.