This recipe was born recently when I found myself having to feed five people on one braising steak, cooked over an open fire in a field in Cornwall, and the only cooking vessel we had was a wok. It turned out so surprisingly lovely that I just have to share it. The quantities and directions are very approximate due the conditions!


  • A cheap cut of beef (although I dare say a nice cut will work even better), enough to feed about 3 people.
  • One large onion.
  • One or two leeks.
  • Six or so large mushrooms of any variety (more if they're little).
  • About half a pint of ale or good quality bitter - not lager!
  • Some flour.
  • Salt and pepper.
  • Vegetable oil.

Cut the beef into thin strips like for a stir-fry. Roll it around in a plate of flour until the beef is evenly coated in it.

Heat some oil in a wok or heavy frying pan. When it's good and hot, add the beef and mix- or stir-fry the beef until it's evenly browned on all sides. Remove the beef to a separate dish and keep in a warm place.

Add some more oil as required. Throw in the onion, chopped to medium chunks. Again, mix-fry until the onion is glassy and begins to smell sweet. Add the leeks, thinly sliced, and fry until they too get glassy and soft. Throw in the chopped mushrooms, stir well, then season. Keep stirring and frying, all the time on quite a high heat, until the mushrooms have shrunk in size and the mixture is beginning to look less bright green and more cohesive.

Add the beef back in and stir it in well for about a minute, until the meat is heated through again. Pour the ale over the whole thing and stir well. Leave to cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the alcohol has cooked off (you can tell by the smell) and a nice thick, shiny gravy has formed - the flour will have taken care of that.

Remove from the fire and serve with plenty of fresh bread.