Beef Stew

There was beef in the house to be used. I’m not a huge fan of the mammy’s long-running Beef Bourguignon so I decided to swoop in there and find a new recipe of my own. Google happily directed me to Jamie Oliver’s website for his pukka stew that is apparently a big hit with his missus.

You can’t beat a good stew during the Irish winter, and, while it is still unseasonably mild for this time of year, I’m quite in the mood for a beef or lamb stew and some mulled booze. Bring it on.

It’s stewing in the oven right now – as I hum along to the unashamedly catchy Elvis Isn’t Dead by Scouting for Girls (say what you like about them, they always cheer me up) – so I have no idea how it’s going to taste. It smells good though.

Beef Stew

Olive oil + knob of butter
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 handful sage leaves
800g / 1 3/4lb stewing steak or beef skirt, cut into 2″ pieces (I’m using sirloin today = less cooking time)
Flour and seasoning to dust beef pieces
2 parsnips, peeled and quartered
4 carrots, peeled and halved
1/2 butternut squash, roughly diced
500g / 1lb 2 oz small potatoes, peeled and halved
2 tblsp tomato puree
1/2 bottle of red wine
285ml / 1/2 pint beef or vegetable stock
Zest of 1 lemon
1 handful of fresh rosemary, chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped/mushed

1. Preheat the oven to 160C.

2. Get a medium heat going under a large heavy saucepan (with a lid and that’s suitable for ovening) or a large casserole dish (with a lid, that’s suitable for the hob). Add the olive oil and butter, then the onion and sage and fry for 3-4 mins.

3. Roll the beef pieces in the flour and seasoning to coat them. Shake off the excess flour then add them to the pot, followed by all the veg and potatoes.

4. Add the tomato puree, stock and wine. Carefully stir everything together. Season with freshly ground black pepper and a smidgen of sea salt. Allow the liquid to come to the boil. Place the lid on top and bung it in the oven. Depending on the cut of meat you use, the cooking times will vary. I’ve set my oven to 2 hours for the sirloin and we’ll see how it goes from there. Jamie recommends 3-4 hours for the cuts of meat in his recipe, saying the only way to test if your meat is really done is to pull a piece out of the pot and mash it: if it falls apart, your meat is done.

5. If you’re not ready to serve the stew, it can be kept warm at 110C.

6. To serve: mix the lemon zest, rosemary and garlic together and scatter over your stew just before tucking in.

The verdict is in: Happy Food Baby would give this a rating of “Sated Gurgle”. As for the rest of the Happy Food Baby Family: clean plates are always a good sign.


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