Beef and Ale Cobbler

The Beef and Ale Cobbler Recipe is a great for feeding a crowd, the filling can be prepared days ahead and the whole dish needs no additional attention once it has gone into the oven.

Special equipment:
2in (5cm) pastry cutter

For the filling:
1⁄4 cup olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely diced
1 leek, trimmed and finely sliced
6oz (150g) button mushrooms, washed,
halved or quartered, if needed
1lb 5oz (600g) chuck roast,
in 11⁄4in (3cm) chunks
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
16fl oz (500ml) dark beer or ale,
or beef stock
1 beef bouillon cube
1 bouquet garni
1 tbsp sugar
2 large carrots, in 3⁄4in (2cm) chunks

For the cobbler:
1 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
9 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled and diced
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
3 tbsp horseradish sauce,
or horseradish cream
2–4 tbsp milk
1 egg, beaten, for glazing

1 In a large ovenproof Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and cook the onion, celery, and leek for about 5 minutes, until soft but not brown. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3–4 minutes until they begin to color in places. Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and set aside.

2 Toss the steak in 2 tablespoons seasoned flour. Heat the remaining oil in the Dutch oven and cook the meat, a few pieces at a time, until well browned on all sides. Be sure not to overcrowd the Dutch oven, or the meat will begin to steam rather than brown. Remove the meat as it cooks and add it to the vegetables.

3 Return the meat and vegetables to the Dutch oven, and cover with the beer. Add the beef bouillon cube, 1 1⁄4 cups boiling water, bouquet garni, sugar, and carrots. Check for seasoning, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to its lowest setting, cover, and cook for 2–21⁄2 hours, until the meat is tender. Check it from time to time, and add some water if dry.

4 Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Mix in the parsley. Whisk together the horseradish sauce and milk and use the liquid to bind the dry ingredients to form a soft dough.

5 On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 3⁄4in (2cm). Using the pastry cutter, cut out circles. Re-roll the offcuts and re-cut until the dough is used up. When the stew is cooked, remove the bouquet garni and top it with the disks of cobbler topping. Overlap them slightly so that there are very few gaps where the filling can be seen.

6 Brush the tops with beaten egg and bake the cobbler in the middle of the oven for 30–40 minutes until it is puffed up and golden brown. Remove it from the oven
and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Prepare the filling 2 days ahead and chill, before topping with the cobbler and baking. The cooked cobbler can be chilled overnight; reheat before eating.

A cobbler topping is easier to make than dumplings or pastry, and can turn a simple stew into a hearty, one-pot meal. Any kind of meat or vegetable stew can be transformed with the addition of these savory scones; try adding mustard, horseradish, herbs, or spices to the mix to complement the filling.

Beef and Ale Cobbler
Holiday Recipes
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