Saturday, 14 November 2009

A proper beef stew

I cannot think of anything more comforting on a cold Saturday night, at the end of a long week of work, than a delicious, bubbling, fragrant casserole of beef and red wine. This one uses a whole half bottle - don't be stingy, sometimes it's just not worth it! Yum...

  • 4 fat garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 sticks of celery, sliced
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  • Rosemary needles, a scant dessertspoon-full, very finely chopped
  • 2 braising steaks, trimmed of fat and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • Good pinch smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tin chopped tomatoes
  • Tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • Half bottle of good red wine
  • Pre-heat the oven to 160C/320F.
  • In a cast-iron casserole on the hob, heat a tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Add the garlic, onion and rosemary and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant. Add the celery and carrots and cook for another few minutes until the vegetables begin to soften.
  • Remove the vegetables to a bowl and return the casserole to the hob, adding a little more oil if you think it needs it.
  • In a shallow dish, mix the plain flour with the paprika and a good seasoning of salt and pepper. Stir the beef through the flour. Shake off the excess.
  • Add the beef to the hot oil and sear on all sides.
  • Return the vegetables to the pan, along with the kidney beans and tomatoes. Pour over half the bottle of wine and stir well. Bring to a bubble, cover and put in the oven.
  • Cook the casserole for 2 1/2 - 3 hours. After the first hour give the stew a good stir. After the second add the rest of the wine. The stew is cooked once the sauce is thick and winey, and the meat is very tender. You may like to turn the heat down after the second hour if your oven is very fierce.
Feeds 2 with greens.

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