This is one of the best beef stews I have made. I made it while camping in our backyard in the swags with my kids and one of their friends. This stew took me about two and a half hours to prepare and cook
In making this beef stew I used a cheap cut of beef and some beef ribs. To start making it just cut the beef into large chucks and coat in plain flour. Brown off the beef chunks and ribs (if you use them) in a good amount of olive oil in the bottom of the camp oven.
Dice up the onions (I used two types, but what ever is available) and brown off after the meat has browned. Once the onions are translucent add a generous splash of red wine vinegar and then cook off until the strong vinegar smell disappears.
One of the things I love about this beef stew is the sauce which owes a lot to the can of brown lentils and can of garden peas I throw in early. The idea of putting them into the stew early is to get them to break down and become part of the gravy.
Another part of this gravy is the passata (tomato puree), beer and mustard. Each time I make this beef stew I vary the ratios of each depending on what I feel like at the time. Generally I put in between half and a full bottle of extra stout beer, one third to half a bottle of passata and one table spoon of Australian mustard. Just vary the ratios of each of these to bring out the flavor you like the best.
Once you have cooked in the passata, beer and mustard, then you can add your beef stock, salt and pepper. I generally add a modest amount of these at this stage, and then at the end of the cook add more to achieve the taste I am after.
Once all these ingredients are cooked into the stew, its finally time to put the lid on the camp oven and to cook for about an hour, just with coals underneath at this stage. What you want to hear during this hour of cooking is a nice gentile cooking sound from within the camp oven without it going crazy and burning the bottom of the stew. If you can’t hear any noise at all, your coals are probably too cold.
After an hour give the stew a good stir and then add some celery leaves, the potatoes, pumpkin and carrot (or what ever veggies you want).
Now its time to add some more coals to the bottom of the camp oven to cook for the final hour. At this stage we also add coals to the lid of the camp oven which will cook and brown the veggies we just added.
After the hour your veggies on top should be cooked through and ready to stir into the gravy. Now we’re almost ready to eat, just taste to see of you need to add more salt, pepper of beef stock. If you do stir it in and then cook it for a few minutes and then you are done. Yum!
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Brett, Mandy, Isabella & Christian Hooper