My Winter Beef Stew

Now that winter has really set in, so has the need for yummy, filling, comfort food. One of my favourites is the good old beef stew. It’s low in fat, packs a big veggie punch (keeping that immune system working nicely), and gets the thumbs up from a fussy 2 year old – perfect! It may not be classy or beautiful looking, but on a cold day it’s a hug in a bowl – what more could you ask for?

So many people have their own tried and tested stew recipes, but here’s mine…

(serves 3-4 depending on appetite!)

INGREDIENTS

500g stewing beef/braising steak (whatever you can find that’s cheap as this cooks for a long time so lends itself well to the cheaper cuts)

2 tbsp oil

4 tbsp plain flour

4 carrots cut in to chunks (chuck size is down to personal preference but I go for bite sized pieces that are child friendly)

1 large onion peeled and chopped

1 clove garlic crushed or finely chopped

2 sticks of celery finely chopped (if not keen on celery – recipe works perfectly well without it)

Whatever veg you have in the bottom of your fridge that needs using up! I usually use all or a selection of the following: courgette, broccoli, mushrooms – all chopped

For an extra iron boost I add a couple of balls of frozen chopped spinach

187ml red wine (does not have to be exact, I just use one of those small bottles)

1.5 pts beef stock

2 tbsp tomato puree

a cheeky squirt of tomato ketchup

4 drops Worcestershire sauce

Salt & pepper to taste

TO SERVE

Crusty bread

If very hungry also serve with potatoes of your choice – baby roasted, sweet potato & mustard mash, whatever you fancy!

Sprinkle the flour over the chunks of beef and use your hands to make sure it all gets a flour covering. Heat half of the oil in a casserole dish then add the beef. Fry until lightly browned all over. Add a drop of the stock to deglaze the dish, making sure to scrape up all the bits that have stuck as this is where a lot of the flavour is held. Transfer meat and juices in to a bowl.

Heat the remaining oil in the dish then add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery. Fry for around 5 mins, stirring regularly. Add the remaining veg (except spinach if using this). Cook for a further 5 mins, again stirring regularly to ensure even cooking. At this point the carrots will still be fairly firm but this is fine. Return the meat to the veg.

Pour in all of the stock and red wine so that all meat and veg is covered. Add the tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce and ketchup. Stir. Pop in the spinach.

Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer. The great thing about this meal is that you can use the cheapest cuts of meat. However, this does mean it needs a good 2 hours cooking time on a low heat, with occasional stirring to prevent anything sticking to the bottom. Serve with crusty bread for a warming, filling and nutritious dinner.

This is delicious served straight away, but also one of those meals that is amazing when reheated and eaten the following day – making it perfect for putting together on a lazy Sunday, ready to serve quickly on a crazy Monday. I hope you enjoy!

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