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Beef Stew With Anchovies and Thyme

Asked by Stephabthom. Answered on 12th March 2013

Full question

I would like to make Nigella's Beef Stew With Anchovies and Thyme. I do not have anchovies but I do have anchovy paste. Can I substitute this? Thanks, Stephanie.

Dear Nigella Team, I was wondering if it's possible to freeze the anchovies from an opened can. Sometimes in recipes you only need part of the contents of a can, and I feel bad throwing the rest away. I don't particularly like to eat them just from the can, since their taste is very strong. So would it be possible to freeze the anchovies that are left over? Thank you very much in advance for the answer! Lucy.

Our answer

Anchovy paste is a paste made from finely ground anchovies plus a combination of oil, vinegar and sugar. It usually comes in a tube. Both anchovies and anchovy paste are used to add a savoury depth to sauces. As the anchovies in Nigella's Beef Stew with Anchovies and Thyme (from Hopw To Eat) are chopped up and melt into the sauce it is possible to substitute anchovy paste instead. Your tube should have guidelines on how much to use, but if not we would suggest about 1/4 teaspoon (1.25mls) of paste per anchovy.

There is an anchovy spread called "Gentleman's Relish" which also includes butter and some spices. We would not use this as an alternative to anchovies.

It is possible to freeze left over anchovies from a can of anchovies. We would suggest that the oil from the can is saved and this is used to cover the anchovies before freezing ans this will help to reduce the risk of freezer burn. Also try to freeze the anchovies in a small container so that there isn't too much air trapped in the container with them. We would suggest that the anchovies are used within 3 months of freezing. Either thaw at room temperature for 1-2 hours and use immediately, or thaw overnight in the fridge and use within 24 hours.

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