Back on a budget: Steak and Ale Stew

I've become a student again - and have challenged myself to eat on the cheap, without compromising on taste.

Like a lot of young folk, I enjoy a nice craft ale.

And after having a couple ‘three for a fiver’ bottles with friends, I had one left over. 

But what to do with this bottle of the amber nectar?

Sweet, sweet amber nectar...

Sweet, sweet amber nectar...

Drink it? Nah! I wanted to do my next two favourite things: cook with it in a slow cooker! 

And what better way to bring in the cold months, than make a winter warmer steak and ale stew.

Beef cuts are also a great way of cooking on a budget. I used a shin beef, but there are even cheaper options available… some people even use ox tail (just saying).  

And the slow cooker is a great way of making the meat real tender… which reminds me, I think I’ll write a whole blog dedicated to slow cookers soon!

Steak and ale stew

Winter warmer stew. Just add beer...

Winter warmer stew. Just add beer...

600-700g of shin beef (or similar cheap cuts - be brave!) chopped into cubes
500ml of ale (the fruitier, the better)
Four slices of bacon, chopped into cubes
One beef stock cube
One carrot, cubed
A stick of celery, finely chopped
One Leek, roughly chopped
Teaspoon of mustard
Sprinkle of chilli flakes
Two cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Two teaspoons of Italian seasoning 


- Add a glug of oil into a pan on a medium heat.

- Add the shin beef to the pan and brown off for five minutes.

- Turn the slow cooker onto the high setting and add the beef and any juices from the pan.

- Add the bacon, carrot, mustard, chilli flakes, garlic, stock cube and Italian seasoning.

- Season to taste.

- Pour in the ale and stir.

- If the ale doesn’t completely cover the ingredients, top up with a splash of water.  

- Leave to cook for 6-8 hours, until the meat is tender.

- Serve with mash potato and peas… or with a hunk of bread and butter


Where the savings are
As I mentioned, I used a leftover bottle from a ‘3 for a fiver’ real ale deal from the supermarket. It’s a great way to drink and enjoy a couple of beers… and then smash out a winter meal too.

If you buy a six pack of bacon for the recipe, it means you’ll have two slices left over for a cheeky break bap… or barm, as they’d say here in Manchester.

What next?
If you have any other recipe ideas - or tips on cooking delicious food on the cheap - drop me a line!

Tweet me: @backonabudget