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Marmite carbonnade

This big beef casserole is all the beefier for its crisp Marmite toasts

  • Prep: 40 mins
    Cook: 2 hrs 10 mins
  • Serves 8
  • Easy
  • Serves 8
  • Easy
  • Calories 520
  • Carbohydrates 24
  • Saturated Fat 13
  • Sugar 7
  • Protein 44
  • Fat 27
  • Fibre 2
  • Salt 1.3

Nutrition per serving

  • Calories 520
  • Carbohydrates 24
  • Saturated Fat 13
  • Sugar 7
  • Protein 44
  • Fat 27
  • Fibre 2
  • Salt 1.3

Ingredients

  • 85g unsalted butter, plus extra for spreading
  • 4 onions, halved and sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1½ kg/3lb 5oz stewing steak, cut into large cubes
  • 850ml beef stock
  • 1½ tbsp plain flour
  • 400ml can Guinness
  • about 10 thyme sprigs, tied into a bunch
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp light muscovado sugar
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 2-4 tbsp mushroom ketchup (optional, see Know-how, below)
  • 1 celery heart, trimmed and sliced
  • about 2 tsp Marmite
  • about 25 thin slices French bread (about ¾ baguette - day-old is fine)

Tip

Know-how
Mushroom ketchup, a traditional condiment in use since Victorian times, adds an earthy richness to sauces, stews and soups. Geo Watkins is the most common brand – find it in the sauces section of most supermarkets for £1.09/170ml bottle.

Method

  1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Melt half the butter in a large cast-iron casserole over a medium heat, add the onions, then fry for 8-12 mins until golden, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic just before the end, then transfer everything to a bowl. Turn the heat up a little, season the beef with salt and pepper and seal it in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan, adding a knob of the remaining butter with each one. Deglaze the pan with a little stock as you go along.

  2. Return the onions and beef to the pan, sprinkle over the flour, stir, then pour over the Guinness and stock. Add the herbs, sugar, vinegar, mushroom ketchup (if using) and some seasoning. Bring the liquid to the boil, cover, then cook in the oven for 1½ hrs. If serving on the day, skim the fat off at this stage.

  3. Remove the casserole and turn the oven up to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Discard the herbs, check for seasoning, then add the celery. Mix the remaining butter with about 2 tsp Marmite, then spread it over the slices of French bread on one side. Arrange the slices, Marmite-side up, overlapping on top of the casserole, then return to the oven for another 30-40 mins until the toasts are golden and crisp. Serve straight away.