Beef stew

The weather is turning cold again, and that means that is time to make wintery stews again. Perfect for a lazy sunday afternoon, prepping it bit by bit, letting the delicious smells scent your house, ending with a delicious, comforting meal. The great thing of this recipe is that it makes quite a lot, so you can spend one relaxed afternoon chopping and cooking and reheat the leftover portions (they freeze perfectly) on days that you really need a comforting meal like this, but don’t have the time to make it. It is delicious eaten with rice or mashed potatoes, and serve with braised red cabbage or brussel sprouts to make your meal complete. You can also add browned baby onions and mushrooms the last 20 minutes of cooking.

Beef Stew

Beef stew (serves 8)
Adapted from Great British Chefs

1 kg of braising beef, in chunks
olive oil
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large onion, diced
4-6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
140 g tomato paste
350 ml of beef stock
750 ml red wine
6 sprigs thyme
3 bay leaves
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 150C.
Heat some olive oil in a heavy, oven-proof pot on high heat. Brown the beef chunks in portions, only adding enough to just cover the base of the pan (otherwise it will not brown nicely). Add a little extra olive oil when the pan gets dry. The beef should get quite dark brown to give the most flavour. Set aside the beef.
In the same pan, heat some olive oil and add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Saute on medium heat until soft and translucent. Add the tomato paste and fry a little longer (this will sweeten the tomato by getting rid of some of the harsh acids in the puree). Add the browned beef (and its juices) back in, add the stock, red wine, thyme, bay leaves and pepper. Stir well and place the pan in the oven. Cover partly with a lid. Stew for 2-4 hours, checking occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan and adding a little more water if necessary (the meat should be covered). Don’t add to much extra water at the end of cooking, you want the sauce to thicken slightly.
Serve with side dishes of your preference and/or scoop into freezer containers and leave to cool before placing in the freezer.

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