“This stew is not just for Christmas Eve – in fact, it should be enjoyed on a weekly basis throughout Winter in my opinion.” – Hannah
Winter is one of my favourite times to cook. All the best dishes are big, warming hearty pies and stews which appeal to my Northern roots. This recipe is originally from my Mum’s friend and traditionally in our house we have it on Christmas Eve. It fills the house with a lovely aroma that, for me, just sets the tone for Christmas. However it is just as good in any of the winter months. One thing I would say is that its important to get good quality beef.
I find shin is best for these long slow cooking stews; the connective tissues all break down to give a really deep, dark flavour to the dish. This stew can be easily cooked the night before, and reheated the next day. Equally it can also be frozen and saved for a cold winter’s night when you need a meal to warm you up from the inside out!
1kg beef, diced into 2cm chunks (preferably shin)
6 rashers smoky bacon
2 sticks celery, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp thyme (fresh or dried), chopped
½ pint of red wine
2tbsp redcurrant jelly (optional)
1 pt beef or vegetable stock
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
100g fresh cranberries
2 bay leaves
zest of ½ an orange
1 tbsp tomato purée
fresh parsley to garnish (optional)
1. Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a large ovenproof casserole dish over a low heat.
2. Add the onion, carrot and celery. Cover and leave to soften for twenty minutes or so without colouring, stirring occasionally.
3. Meanwhile, lightly coat the beef in flour, giving a good seasoning of salt and pepper.
4. Put a deep frying pan over a high heat and add a splash of oil. When the pan is nice and hot add the beef in batches to brown, without overcrowding the pan. Don’t worry if some of the flour sticks to the pan bottom. When the meat is browned put on a plate to one side.
5. After all the meat is done, add the wine to the pan and stir vigorously (it should bubble up a lot). Keep stirring until the liquid has reduced by half.
6. In the casserole dish add the bacon and garlic and turn up the heat a little. Cook until the bacon has started to brown, stirring often.
7. Add the beef, wine, port, thyme, bay leaves, stock, Worcestershire sauce, cranberries, orange zest, and tomato puree to the casserole dish and bring to a simmer.
8. Place in the oven, covered, at 150°C for 3-4 hours. During this time the sauce should thicken considerably and the beef become meltingly tender.
9. Serve with lots of mashed potato or crusty bread.
*Post written in collaboration with BEKO’s fabulous new Freezer Guard technology*