Recipe: Slow cooked beef casserole


We had my parents come to visit on the weekend, which inevitably means an opportunity to cook something different.  It was all fairly last minute, and it wasn't really an opportunity to spend several hours in the kitchen (that would have been pretty rude!) - but it was an opportunity to make something different.

Having popped down to the new Waitrose that had just opened (also very exciting in itself) just before they arrived, we picked up some food and I opted for a simple slow cooked beef casserole.  As I have mentioned before, my preference is for richer, indulgent, stick-to-your-ribs type food, especially in the colder months, so this seemed good.

I was so busy concentrating on ingredients, I forgot to photograph the food until it was all eaten.


It's really simple, and something that I had created once before. Well, more-or-less anyway. I don't really remember what I put into things in detail - so this time, with the blog in mind I made sure to try and guess-timate the amounts I was putting in of everything. That said, if you are just cooking for yourself at home, then it probably doesn't make much difference, you can swap ingredients/quantities based on what you have. Most of my recipes will be based on availability!


Anyways, on with the food..

Ingredients

  • 2 Large leeks (as usual, interchangeable with onions if you don't have leeks. But I prefer leeks), chopped
  • 2-3 large carrots, chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons of unsalted butted
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 800g braising steak (or whatever casserole meat)
  • 1-2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 bay leaves
  • salt & pepper for seasoning

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees
  1. Get your meat out of the fridge, open packaging and season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large pan (I used a large heavy based frying pan, but you can do this directly in your casserole dish if you want to cut down on washing up) melt the butter, then over a medium heat throw in the carrots and leeks.  Cook these for a while until they are soft and browning. To borrow from Nigel Slater, these will be the savoury base of the meal, so if you can, take your time with this.  Apart from anything, slowly cooking leeks in butter over a medium-high heat smells awesome.
  3. Add the tomato puree and mustard to the leeks & carrots and stir in well, and cook for a minute or so
  4. Add the meat to the pan and cook until lightly brown/sealed. Once meat is cooked sprinkle over the flour and mix - this will make sure we get all the juices/butter/fat/flavour from the dish
  5. Transfer everything so far to the casserole dish - pour over the made up beef stock. Then top up the dish with boiling water so that all the meat is covered. Stir and throw in the bay leaves
  6. Cook covered in the oven for a few hours - the oven will do the hard work for you here, and the sauce will reduce to a rich, sticky sauce. The longer and slower you cook it, the better (the meat will be softer for it), but if you don't have long, keep an eye on how it is reducing, and then try uncovering slightly for the last 30mins cooking time to speed up that bit.

Serve with anything really, bread, mash, vegetables..


(I'll try and get some photos next time, I promise)





rob hinds Shambolically fumbling my way around the kitchen

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