28 Apr 2012

Beef Stew - A rare treat for a change of season!

There has been a distinct change of season around here.
Indications this week included:- 

  • a request for porridge for breakfast,
  •  wearing boots all day, 
  • the first athletics of the season,
  •  wood chopping and the first open fire of the season, 
  • the searching for the winter school uniform and once again teaching tie tying, 
  • wheat packs at bed time 
  • and a strange yearning for beef stew!!

Stew is something each of us has mentioned missing from time to time since we largely gave up meat. So today (with our true vegetarian away) we decided we'd have one for old times sake. (Eva agreed to eat beef just this once as long as it was organic.)

It was delicious and warming! 
The recipe came from Jamie Oliver (a reliable source of all comfort foods I find). 
We put it in the slow cooker before we went to athletics around 11.30am and it was perfectly cooked at 7.30pm when we were ready to sit down.

The sprinkling of rosemary, garlic and lemon zest at the end tasted fantastic on this - it made a huge difference to the final flavour.

Beef and Root Vegetable Stew with Rosemary Gremolata in the Slow-cooker.

• olive oil
• a  little butter
• 1 onion, peeled and chopped
• a handful of fresh sage leaves
• 800g/1¾lb stewing steak (I used organic blade), cut into 2cm pieces
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• flour, to dust
• 2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
• 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
• ½ a butternut pumpkin (squash), deseeded, peeled and roughly diced
• optional: a handful of Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and halved (I couldn't get any but think they'd be great if you could)
• 500g/1lb 2oz small potatoes
• 2 tablespoons tomato purée
• ½ a bottle of red wine
• 285ml/½ pint
 beef or vegetable stock
• zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
• a handful of rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
• 1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

Put a little oil and your knob of butter into a small frypan. Add your onion and all the sage leaves and fry for 3 or 4 minutes.

Transfer onion to slow cooker.

Toss the meat in a little seasoned flour, then add it to the slow-cooker with all the vegetables, the tomato purée, wine and stock, and gently stir together.

Season generously with freshly ground black pepper and just a little salt.

Put slow-cooker onto high setting for approx 2 hours, the switch to low for 5-6 hours until the meat is tender. Test by squashing  a piece of meat and if it falls apart easily it’s ready. (Note if you won’t be around to turn the slow cooker down just cook on low and switch to high when you get home if needed)

Once it’s cooked, you can leave it on low until you’re ready to eat. 

Mix the lemon zest, chopped rosemary and garlic together and sprinkle over the stew just before eating. Just the smallest amount will make a world of difference – as soon as it hits the hot stew it will release an amazing fragrance.

Ladle into bowls and serve as is or accompanied by fresh, warmed bread
 and a bowl of steamed greens

Hope you are Enjoying the season where ever you are and which ever way it's changing!


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