Playing Mulled Cider Beef and Potato Turnip Mash
For the beef:
  • 2 cups cloudy apple cider
  • A pouch of store-bought mulling spice, or wrap in cheese cloth 1 cinnamon stick, a curl of orange peel, and star anise
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 6 slices good quality bacon, chopped into pieces 1/2-inch wide
  • 2 1/2 pound piece sirloin or round, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Salt and pepper or steak seasoning blend
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice, half a palmful
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/1 teaspoons ground cumin, half a palmful
  • 2 medium onions, root end attached, sliced into thin wedges
  • 3 to 4 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced on an angle
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced on an angle
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 large fresh bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped thyme
  • A handful of fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup thick Worcestershire sauce, Lea & Perrins brand (regular Worcestershire or steak sauce may be substituted)
  • About 3 cups beef stock
For the mash:
  • For the mash:
  • 4 starchy potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 1 turnip, peeled and sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • Whole milk, for mashing
  • 1 1/2 cups super sharp white cheddar cheese, about 6-7 ounce brick, shredded

Preheat oven to 325F.

Mull cider over medium heat until it comes to low boil then reduce heat to low to keep warm.

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add EVOO and bacon, crisp the bacon then remove to plate. Pat meat dry with paper towels then season with salt and pepper or steak seasoning blend, coat in flour seasoned with allspice, cloves, nutmeg and cumin. Shake off excess flour and add meat in batches to the hot pan and brown very well; remove to plate.

Add the onions, carrots, parsnips, garlic and herbs to pot and season with salt and pepper. Sweat the vegetables for a few minutes then remove mulling spices and deglaze the pot with the cider, scraping up all of the drippings. Let reduce a couple of minutes then stir in Worcestershire and stock, bring to boil, add meat and bacon back to pot, cover and transfer pot to oven. Bake 2 hours. Turn off heat and let stand 30 minutes in oven while you make the potatoes.

Cover potatoes and turnips with water and bring to a boil. Salt water and cook until just tender, drain and return to hot pot. Season with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg then mash the potatoes and turnips with milk to almost smooth. Stir in cheese and adjust seasoning.

Remove lid off stew, stir and remove the bay leaves. Turn on stove and thicken sauce a couple of minutes if stew is not at desired thickness -- the sauce will thicken rapidly to your preference.

Serve meat in shallow bowls with large spoonfuls of potatoes alongside.