Autumn… cold and rainy days, long evenings and stews! Stews are such an autumnal type of food. Rich, warming, comforting, with long cooked meat that almost melts away in your mouth. There is nothing better to eat on a cold November evening. This time of year there are not issues with having the oven on for long. As a matter of fact I love when the kitchen gets heated with the oven on and the lovely aroma from the dish spreads through the house. This is one pot dish so no need to wash multiple pans. Then when it is ready all you have to do is serve it with a nice, chunky slice of a sourdough bread. My wife loves this dish and it is our must have during autumn and winter months. You can prepare it one day ahead, keep it refrigerated and just re heat when you are ready to serve. It will only enhance the flavours!
Serves 4 – 6. Adopted from the original recipe by Gino D’Acampo
Equipment required: large flameproof casserole dish with a lid (I use cast iron casserole dish)
- 700g stewing beef, cut into 2cm cubes
- 2 tblsp plain flour
- 4 tblsp rapeseed oil
- 300g red onions , roughly chopped
- 100g cubed bacon or pancetta
- 300g mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 2 carrots, cut into 1cm cubes
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 300g red wine
- 2 tblsp tomato puree
- 700g mushroom stock (made with good quality stock cubes)
- 5 rosemary sprigs
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt and pepper to season
- Pre heat the oven to 200 centigrade
- Dust the beef with the flour
- Heat the oil in a casserole dish and gently fry the beef for 2 -3 minutes until browned all over. Remove from the dish and set aside. You will have to work with 2 or 3 batches. Don’t worry if some of the flour sticks into the bottom of the dish. It will flavour and thicken the sauce later.
- Add the onions and bacon and cook for around 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the mushrooms, carrot and garlic and cook for further 5 – 7 minutes.
- Pour in the wine and bring to boil. At this point you can gently scrape the bottom if the dish as you stir the ingredients.
- Return the beef to the dish, stir in the tomato paste and mix well.
- Pour in the stock a little at the time, stirring continuously to create the sauce. Bring to boil.
- Put in the rosemary and bay leaves.
- Cover the casserole dish with a lid and transfer to the middle of the oven. Cook for about 50 – 60 minutes. Remove the lid for the last 15 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.
- Before serving, season with salt and pepper. Check consistency and if the sauce is too thin dust it with a heaped teaspoon of flour. Stir vigorously to incorporate flour into the hot sauce to make it thicker.
- Rest for 10 minutes and serve in pre heated bowls.