There are few things more welcoming, especially now that the weather has turned colder, than the gorgeous smell of a slow cooked stew. Smell are so evocative and this particular smell brings me right back to my childhood and walking in the door of home after a days hunting, cold and often drenched, and this smell and the promise of the meal to come was like being wrapped in a giant hug.
This is not fashionable food and most definitely not restaurant food but it is homily, nourishing food and we, on Hushabye farm, love it. I hope you will too.
This isn’t so much a recipe as a suggestion of how and what to but together in this stew. there are a hundred different versions and most work well, I’ve often used Guinness instead of Red Wine and the amount of vegetables varies on each cooking so go with what you have at the time of cooking…..this is as I said my suggested ingredients.
2lb Stewing Beef
7/8 large carrots cut into large chunks
1 head of celery cut approx. same size as carrots
300g Pancetta Cubes ( I use the packet from Aldi)
250g Large Flat Mushrooms sliced
1 Large Onion sliced
400ml red wine
2 generous tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. Rapeseed Oil
Preheat the oven to 150
In a large casserole dish add the Rapeseed Oil and set over a high heat, when the oil is hot brown the beef in small batches, removing each batch to a bowl and season with salt and pepper. When finished, adding more oil if necessary, lower the heat and fry off the pancetta, when it is nearly crispy add the onions and fry till the onions are softened and starting to colour. Add back in the beef and all the juice from it and add in the flour, allow the flour to cook for a minute or two and slowly add the Red Wine. When all the Red Wine has been added you can now add in the rest of the vegetables. Top up the liquid with enough beef stock to just cover the meat and veg. Bring it to the boil and immediately place it in the oven. It will cook away happily for 2 to 2 1/2 hours by which time your house will be filled with the most delicious smells….serve with potatoes, steamed, boiled, mashed or roasted or for the maximum ease pop the peeled potatoes on the top of the stew for the last hour or so of cooking.
There you have it….memories, the very best kind, in a bowl.