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Braised shin of beef with Newcastle ale

So much to do and guests coming for dinner next week? Answer - prepare in advance. Here’s one good main course using my favourite brew which can be pre cooked and frozen for up to two months.

"Newcastle ale has such body and sweetness that beef braised in it tastes like beef braised in red wine, but at a fraction of the cost. Use the savings to serve an old, expensive red with the meal. " Allow 4 hours (but 3 of these are when it's looking after itself in the oven).

Serves 6

1.5kg/3lb 5oz shin of beef, cut into 2cm slices
4 tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, very thinly sliced
2 carrots, thickly sliced on the diagonal
2 celery sticks, strings removed and thickly sliced on the diagonal
1 leek, trimmed, rinsed and sliced
1 fresh red chilli, cut in half lengthways and deseeded
1 bay leaf
1 tsp demerara sugar
550ml bottle Newcastle brown ale
425ml/3/4 pint hot vegetable stock

1 Preheat the oven to 1 60C/gas 31 fan140C. Tip the meat into a bowl and season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat half the oil in a large non-stick frying pan until hot and cook the meat in batches until it's browned on all sides. As each batch of meat is ready, tip into a large casserole dish.

2 Heat the remaining oil in the frying pan, add the onions, carrots, celery and leek and fry over a medium heat for 10 minutes or so, stirring every now and then until they start to colour. Tip the vegetables over the meat, add the chilli halves, bay leaf and sugar and mix everything together well.
3 Pour the beer into the frying pan and stir round the pan to gather up any stray vegetables and juices left behind. Transfer the beer to the casserole followed by the hot stoc and stir well to mix, then cover am cook in the oven for 3 hours or uni the meat is tender Leave to cool, then skim any fat off the surface with a metal spoon.

To Finish
Buttered fresh noodles – tagliatelle are good (you'll need 2 x 500g bags
of fresh)
2-3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

To Freeze
Tip into a rigid container, cover, se and freeze for up to two months.

Recipe from Aiastair Little, of the Tavola, Notting Hill - Fly at a Smile-Price