As the weather transitions from mild autumn to cold and rainy winter, I feel the need for something heart warming to eat. A bowl to hug. Where it is difficult to wait for it and you inevitably burn your tongue on the first spoonful. Thankfully this recipe is so simple and flexible, you can easily remember it, change it to your liking and make it your own.
My love of winter is tightly linked to my love of stews and one pots. Comforting and easy to make, flexible and satiating, what’s not to love about them? All they need is a little time and some good quality ingredients.
Speaking of good quality ingredients, go to your butcher and tell him what you are about to cook. Look for a dark and “dry” piece of beef with some nice marbling. “Dry” means that it should not look shiny or wet. If it does, it means this piece of meat is not aged properly, resulting in a watery stew, having less flavour and being prone to getting dry and hard while cooking. Not good.
- 1kg of good quality stewing beef. Something like shin of beef is perfect.
- 250g carrots
- 250g waxy potatoes
- 2 onions
- 1 bottle of Worcestershire sauce (120ml – yes, that much!)
- 1 tablespoon of mustard (always heaped, I can’t do anything else)
- a lot of bay leaves, probably more than you would take normally. Start with 3-4.
Preheat your oven to 160°C and place a large, deep frying pan or casserole on high heat. Dice the beef into relatively large bite-sized chunks and fry them on each side until golden all around. You don’t need any added cooking fat for this step. If the meat sticks to the pan, leave it a little longer. As soon as it develops a nice crust, it will detach from the pan again.
Meanwhile peel the onions, wash the potatoes and carrots, if necessary, and chop everything into big chunks. Don’t worry too much about this, everything will be completely tender afterwards anyways. Remove the beef from the pan and set it aside. Add some cooking fat of your liking and fry it until the vegetables devlop some colour. Add the beef, stir in the mustard, the Worcestershire sauce and the bay leaves, season generously with black pepper and a little salt and add about 750ml of boiling water.
Cover with a lid, or if you don’t have one, use wet baking paper, then cook in the oven for 4 hours or until the meat is tender. Exact cooking time will vary on the size of the chunks and type of meat you used, so use some common sense here. But this is a stew, not rocket science, you can do it 😉 ! Taste, season to perfection and serve with a big smile.
Exact macros will vary depending on the cut and type of meat you used, the type of mustard and other minor details. If you divide this into six portions, you will have approximately these macros:
- Calories 348kcal
- Protein 34g
- Carbs 14g
- Fat 18g
Room for Improvement
This is a very basic recipe and still it delivers big time. But the real fun of cooking is experimenting around. So feel free to play around with this recipe! First of all, you can scale it up as much as you want, just stick to the proportions: about 1:1 of meat to vegetable is all right. If you use larger amounts of meat, be sure to fry the meat in small portions. It will take some time, but if you don’t split it up, the meat will cool down your pan and you won’t be able to get a nice colour/crust.
You can use almost every type of meat that is suited for slow cooking. I’ve already done lamb, wild boar, venison and squirrel. It all works great.
Instead of adding water, you can of course use broth of any kind. You can also deglaze the pan with wine/sherry/port wine/gin if you want. If you have an unwanted bottle of red wine, you could make the best of it and use it instead of water for this stew. Or maybe a not too bitter beer.
Vegetables can be changed up as much as you want. You might want some garlic. Dried mushrooms can be added at the beginning and fresh mushrooms at the end of the cooking time. Be sure to never cut out the onions, they add a lot to this dish, but you could switch them out for leeks. Feel free to use any root vegetables that you like: parsnips, turnips or beetroot all work great.
Give this stew a chance, I guarantee you will like it, and don’t forget to tell me in the comment section below how it turned out. And while you are here anyways, show me some love and share the recipe with your friends and family, please 🙂 If you never want to miss any new content, subscribe to my blog with the widget on the right. You won’t recieve any adds, just pure, undiluted, beary wisdom!