Gently heat a tiny drop of oil and dot of butter/spread in a heavy casserole pan that will go in the oven (if you don't have one, use an ordinary pan and transfer it into a oven dish later) and lightly brown 1lb of stewing/casserole/shin beef. Stir in an ounce of flour (I don't measure, a rounded tablespoon or a heaped dessert-spoon is about right), cook it gently stirring for a minute or two and then slowly add a can of beer (a pint, 440 - 500mls), stirring into the flour paste.
(It is up to you what beer you use, stout and bitter is rich and strong, and best made the day before to let flavours develop, lager is fine too and has a sweeter taste.)
Add a couple of crushed cloves of garlic and a couple of large onions (I usually chop one fine to disappear into the gravy, and chunk the other). You can also chop a carrot or two in if you like.
Add a small pinch of nutmeg, a teaspoon of brown sugar (and a bit more if using stout or bitter), a large pinch of dried thyme and parsley, some black pepper and a bay leaf (you can add a half or whole beef stock cube too if you like).
Bring it to the boil and let it simmer for about half an hour. It needs time for the flavours to develop, so it will end up smoother and richer than it tastes now, before putting it in the oven for a couple of hours, about 130c/GM3.
If you are making it in advance, you can either put it straight in the oven and then just reheat tomorrow, or switch it off and do in oven tomorrow. (Or you can leave the oven off all together and just leave it on a very low heat with the lid on for a couple of hours, stirring every 15-20 mins.
This is really nice with mashed potatoes and vegetables. Or Yorkshire puddings. Dumplings would work too.
You might also like:
Chilli Beef Stew
Chicken and Bacon Casserole
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