Today’s experiment – I try different variations every time I make stew!
- 1 large onion – sliced
- 1 head Celery – sliced
- 4 large carrots- chopped roughly
- 1.5 lbs stewing beef in chunks
- 2.5 tablespoons (or so) of flour
- 1 beef stock cube
- A good glug of Worcester sauce
- 1 bayleaf
- Salt and pepper
- A handful of mixed herbs, preferably herbes de Provence, or if using ordinary mixed herbs add some extra rosemary. Don’t be mean with them.
- 1 level tablespoon of cocoa powder – honestly – trust me!
- Olive oil
- Hot water
- 500 ml can of Guinness (optional)
Prep time = 15 minutes.
Cooking time = 2-3 hours
Serves less than 4 as you’ll want second helpings, or 4-6 if you have starters/dessert.
Heat the oven to 150-160 degrees celcius
Take a large cast iron casserole and soften the onions gently, on a low heat in some oil. Set aside. Redden the pan, add some more oil and brown the meat all over, in about three lots. Set aside. Deglaze the pan with some more oil, stirring in the carrots and celery. Turn down the heat. Add the meat and onions back in. Sprinkle the flour and the cocoa powder into the pan until the juices are soaked up – don’t overdo it on the flour, it will thicken. Be careful it isn’t too thin either. The mix should be dry’ish at this point. Add the hot water (and if you like the Guinness) just until everything is covered – allow for some evaporation in the oven. Add the herbs, bay leaf, Worscester sauce and the Oxo cube. Season with salt and pepper – don’t stint on the pepper. Give it a stir. Put on the lid, pop it in the oven for two hours or a bit longer, until the meat is really tender and the onions and celery have begun to disappear. Check and adjust seasoning as necessary
Serve in soup plates with some nice onion mash – buttery mashed potatoes with half of a small onion chopped finely and mixed through, add a little cream as well if you have it. Put some chopped fresh parsley on top if you want to impress even further.
To make it into a posh Boef Bourgignon, double everything except the celery, leave out the water, Guinness, oxo cubes, Worcester sauce and Cocoa, and cover it with a bottle or two of nice burgundy wine instead. Add some chopped mushrooms and some lardons of fried streaky bacon half an hour before the end. Serve it with rice this way.
P.P.S. A blatent advert: I photograph food for clients. www.gerlawlor.com
(and I cook for friends)