Temperatures seem to have plummeted over the last few days; they’ve been in minus numbers here, which has been quite a shock to the system. On such occasions the only possible response is to stay indoors and make a casserole! Having shared a recipe for chicken stew the other day, I thought I’d share this lovely recipe for beef and vegetable casserole adapted from one by BBC Good Food. You’ll need to allow three hours for this to cook, plus prep and initial cooking time, so if you want to eat at 7pm I’d advise starting this at 3.30. Once it’s in the oven you can leave it, so it doesn’t actually take up much of your time.
The beauty of a casserole is that you can be very flexible with the ingredients, both with quantities and what you choose to put in it. I’ve included what I used, but you can change what veg you put in – parsnips and mushrooms are two others that would work well that immediately spring to mind. This made enough for two people to have a good-sized dinner and a small portion with some bread for lunch next day.
– 1 pack of braising beef
– A dollop of olive oil and a small knob of butter
– One baking potato
– One sweet potato
– Two carrots
– One onion
– Sprig of thyme, or dried
– Bay leaf
– Two tablespoons of Worcester sauce
– Two tablespoons of tomato puree
– 300ml hot water and 300ml of red wine
– Two beef stock cubes
– Two tablespoons of plain flour
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees (140 for fan ovens). Prep the ingredients. Peel the vegetables and cut them into chunks, as seen below.
Put the vegetables and herbs into your casserole pot and soften for ten minutes in the oil and butter. (An aside: don’t you just love my new terracotta casserole dish?)
Add the flour and stir until the vegetables no longer look dusty. Then add the Worcester sauce, tomato puree and crumbled beef stock cubes. Add the hot water and wine and the beef, then bring to the boil.
Once it’s brought up to the boil, put the lid on and put it into the oven for 2.5 hours. When the timer goes, take it out of the oven, remove the lid and give it a quick stir. If the gravy is looking too runny, you can thicken it easily: simply mix a tablespoon of cornflour with some water and stir it into the casserole.
Then put it back into the oven for a further half an hour, without the lid. Here’s the end result!
Serve on its own, or with some brown bread to soak up the gravy.