Great in a glass and perfect in a stew

Posted on October 14, 2011

October marks the world’s largest real ale festival and it’s all happening right here in Nottinghamshire. To mark the event we want to share one of favourite recipes with you – there’s more to ale than just drinking!

The Robin Hood Beer Festival offers golden ales, fruit beers, stouts, bitters, milds, porters, barley wines, ciders, perries and the list continues. With over 800 varieties on offer the hardest part is what to sample first.

If you are heading to the festival be sure to say hello to our good neighbours from the Welbeck Abbey Brewery who have created a special pale ale called Spyke’s Gold for the event and are also serving four more of their core brews.

We realise that beer usually belongs in a glass, but we also love cooking with real ales and it’s a great ‘secret ingredient’ adding depth and flavour to many a dish.

Here at the school we provide lunches every day of the week and our slow cooked stew with ale always has students queuing for seconds. It’s a dish that's ultra versatile and allows you to use stewing beef or venison, or both. So, with the colder night’s drawing in why not give this winter warmer a try?

Venison and Ale Stew Recipe


  • 1 kg of diced venison haunch or shoulder, or use beef
  • 500ml Welbeck Abbey Brewery Ale - try Ernest George for a rich deep flavour
  • 200ml beef stock
  • 25g flour
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 25g butter
  • 8 shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 150g mushrooms, halved if large
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf


  • Heat the oil and butter in a heavy based casserole dish or deep frying pan and brown the meat, then remove to a plate and keep warm.
  • Fry the shallots and mushrooms for a few minutes until the shallots have softened and are slightly golden. Add the meat and any juices back to the pan and sprinkle over the flour.
  • Pour over the ale and add the carrots, bay leaf and thyme, stir everything together.
  • Put a lid on the pan, then bring to the boil briefly before simmering very slowly for about 2 and a half hours.
  • Add the beef stock and continue to simmer for another hour or until the meat is tender. Season to taste with salt and black pepper towards the end of cooking.
  • Serve with a pile of buttery mashed potatoes and whatever veg you fancy, but buttered cabbage would be nice (we like butter!).




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