Try this classic Belgian-style beef stew served with creamy mash. The recipe is perfect for making ahead to the end of step 3, and leaving to cool and chill until ready to use; then top with the cheesy bread and return to the oven until bubbling.
Toss the beef in the flour to coat. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large casserole dish and add half the beef. Brown for 5 minutes over a high heat, then transfer to a bowl. Splash a little of the beer into the pan and scrape up any crusty bits. Pour this over the beef. Wipe the pan clean, then repeat with the second batch of meat.
Then add the butter to the clean pan and cook the onions, carrot, celery and garlic for 10 minutes until soft and golden. Add the bay leaves, sugar and half the thyme, cook for another minute, and finally add the vinegar.
Preheat the oven to gas 3, 170°C, fan 150°C. Return the beef and its juices to the pan, and pour the remaining beer over it. Cover the pan, leaving a small gap for steam to escape, and cook in the oven for 1 hour 45 minutes.
For the croutons, mix the cheese with the mustard and remaining thyme leaves. Sprinkle a generous layer of cheese over each bread slice. Once the stew is cooked, season, stir, then top with the croutons. Cook for a further 30 minutes, uncovered, until the meat is tender and the croutons are golden and bubbling.
Make it in a slow cooker
Brown the beef and veg as before, then tip into a slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients, except those for the croutons, and use only 200ml beer. Cover and cook on a Low to Medium setting for 7 hours. Grill the croutons on a baking sheet, and add on top of the stew to serve.
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