Slow-cooked beef stew with wine

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December 5, 2013 by dgarnett2013

Slow-cooked beef stew with wine: Kitchen Memories by Lucy Boyd

beefpie2

Serves 4 (easy to increase quantities).

  • 800g stewing beef, chuck or rump, cut into pieces
  • plain flour for dusting
  • 150g butter
  • 4 tabs olive oil
  • 200g carrots, washed or peeled and cut on the diagonal into 5mm slices
  • 4 celery stickes, ends trimmed, cut into 5mm-thick slices
  • 1 medium-sized red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 150g lardons or pancetts or smoked streaky bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 glasses good-quality red wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 350ml hot beef or chicken stock
  • 180g tomatoes, or 1 tin plum tomatoes
  • 400g waxy potatoes, peeled and very finely sliced (use mandolin)
  • sea salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Bring the meat up to room temperature, and when you are ready to cook, dust it lightly in the flour and shake off any excess. Season with salt and pepper.

Use a medium-sized, heavy-based, flameproof casserole that has a lid.

Heat a knob of butter (keep some back for veg and potatoes) and half the olive oil in the casserole. As it starts to sizzle, brown the beef in batches all over, then remove to a plate.

Add a little more olive oil and another knob of butter to the pot and throw in the carrots, celery and onion. Cook on a low to medium heat for 15-20 mins until they soften but do not colour or fry. Add the lardons or bacon and the garlic and cook for a few mins until golden.

Return the meat and any juices to the pot with the vegetables, turn up the heat and add the wine, bay leaf and thyme. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 min, then add the hot stock – it should not quite cover or submerge the beef. Turn the heat down to a simmer, then cover with a piece of greaseproof paper (or butter wrappers) and a lid set slightly askew and place in the oven for 45 mins.

Meanwhile, score the tomatoes at the stem end, then blanch them in boiling water for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a bowl of cold water and leave to cool down. Peel off the skins, keeping the tomatoes whole. (If using tin, use tomatoes whole but not juice).

After 45 mins, take the stew out of the oven and decrease the temperature to 170 degrees C. Add the tomatoes to the stew, squashing them in your hands to help them collapse, then return the casserole to the oven for another 45 mins.

After the beef has been cooking for 1 1/2 hours, take it out of the oven and baste with the juices. Check there is enough liquid and, if necessary, add more stock or water from the kettle – the juices should gradually reduce and thicken, but there needs to be enough to not quite cover the beef.

Lay the slices of potato over the top, a layer at a time, seasoning each layer with a little drizzle of olive oil – aim for 3 – 4 layers, so that the potatoes take on the flavour of the stew and can become crisp and golden. (There may be some left over, depending on size of pot).

Lightly grease the lid with butter to prevent the potatoes from sticking. Increase the oven temperature to 180 degrees C.

Return to the oven with the lid on and cook for a further 45 minutes, then remove the lid, turn up the oven to 200 degrees C and cook for a further 30 mins until the potatoes are golden on top.

Serve with English mustard and salad.

Made when the one and only Nell was in town.

nell2 nell1

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