Simple beef stew

by Emma on May 29, 2011

in Thinking Ahead,What's For Dinner?

Simple beef stew

This beef stew is one that has served me well time and time again – as an easy Sunday afternoon cook-up, prepared ahead for work lunches, as well as a winter dinner party. The recipe is from Jamie Oliver’s book Jamie’s Dinners and is his wife Jools’s favourite. In the winter months there’s nothing more comforting and a hearty stew full of meat and root vegetables. And just to top it off, this beef stew is very straightforward and can be put together very quickly. Just allow a few hours cooking time for the beef to melt in your mouth.

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Simple beef stew

olive oil
a knob of butter
1 onion, peeled and chopped
a handful of fresh sage leaves
800g/1¾lb stewing steak or beef skirt, cut into 5cm/2 inch pieces
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
flour, to dust
2 parsnips, peeled and quartered
4 carrots, peeled and halved
½ a butternut squash, halved, deseeded and roughly diced
optional: a handful of Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and halved
500g/1lb 2oz small potatoes
2 tablespoons tomato purée
½ a bottle of red wine
285ml/½ pint beef or vegetable stock
zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
a handful of rosemary, leaves picked
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 160ºC/300ºF/gas 2. Put a little oil and your knob of butter into an appropriately sized pot or casserole pan. Add your onion and all the sage leaves and fry for 3 or 4 minutes. Toss the meat in a little seasoned flour, then add it to the pan with all the vegetables, the tomato purée, wine and stock, and gently stir together. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper and just a little salt. Bring to the boil, place a lid on top, then cook in the preheated oven until the meat is tender. Sometimes this takes 3 hours, sometimes 4 – it depends on what cut of meat you’re using and how fresh it is. The only way to test is to mash up a piece of meat and if it falls apart easily it’s ready. Once it’s cooked, you can turn the oven down to about 110°C/225°F/gas ¼ and just hold it there until you’re ready to eat.

The best way to serve this is by ladling big spoonfuls into bowls, accompanied by a glass of French red wine and some really fresh, warmed bread. Mix the lemon zest, chopped rosemary and garlic together and sprinkle over the stew before eating. Just the smallest amount will make a world of difference – as soon as it hits the hot stew it will release an amazing fragrance.

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