On Tuesday evening, in the absence of my usual visit from Fig, I decided to cook a casserole that would serve for both Tuesday evening and as something for me to re-heat on Wednesday evening after my late finish. Fortunately this lovely recipe turned up in the back pages of the new Radio Times so I decided to give it a go. It’s a Mary Berry recipe and I kept it mostly as is, although I did substitute diced red pepper for the mushrooms listed in the recipe. It worked well and the resultant dish, rich and tender after two hours cooking time, was delicious.
2 tablespoons of oil
900g of stewing or braising steak, diced
175g of smoked streaky bacon, cut into small pieces
1 large brown onion, peeled and thickly sliced
2 fat garlic cloves, crushed
450ml of red wine
40g of plain flour
4 tablespoons of brandy
600ml of beef stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
175g of chestnut mushrooms (or, if like me you hate mushrooms, 1 red pepper, de-seeded and diced)
A knob of butter
12 small raw pickling onions (I couldn’t find these in Sainsbury’s, so I popped in 4 peeled whole shallots instead)
2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh parsley (I completely forgot to add this! Ah well!)
Pre-heat the oven to 160.
In a small saucepan heat the wine over a medium heat and boil until reduced by half. Set aside.
In a large saucepan heat the oil over a high heat and brown the beef (in batches if necessary) until nicely browned all over. (the recipe says to do this in a flameproof casserole dish, but I prefer to do it in a saucepan and then transfer it into a casserole dish to go in the oven)
Remove the beef from the pan. Add the onion, garlic and bacon to the pan and fry until the bacon is starting to brown.
Sprinkle the flour over the onions and bacon and then pour over the reduced wine, brandy and half of the stock. Stir well to combine and cook until thickened. Bring to the boil.
Add the remaining stock, return the meat to the pan. Season well with salt and pepper and add the thyme. Bring to the boil, then cover with a lid and transfer to the oven. Cook for 1½ -2 hours.
After 1 hour, add the peeled pickling onions/shallots. (The original recipe says to fry the mushrooms and pickling onions in butter and then add them, together, after an hour)
Half an hour before the end of the cooking time, add the diced red pepper.
Once the cooking time is up serve immediately, sprinkled with chopped parsley.