I picked up some beautiful Black Angus stewing beef when I was at Costco the other day with my friend Tina. Their meat always looks so gorgeous. One of these days I am going to treat myself to a Prime Rib, but I have to save my pennies up first! (It's pretty pricey, but well worth it for a special occasion!) The packs of meat are pretty large, so I divided it up and froze half of it. Today I used the other half to make a delicious stew for Todd and myself.
With the warming Spring-like temperatures we are having now, there will not be too many more "stew" days left until the autumn. Todd really loves stews, so I thought I would treat him before it got too hot to stew anything without also stewing yourself!
This is a beautiful recipe which I adapted from Tamasin's Kitchen Bible, the one and only book for every cook by Tamasin Day Lewis. I love her recipes. They are always excellent and this is one fine, mighty excellent book. If you don't have it in your library already, I highly recommend purchasing it. Its worth every penny.
I think Tamasin Day Lewis is one of the unsung heroes of cookery. She is not overly flashy, quite hippy-ish I would say, but she is very good and her recipes always work without a lot of faffing about. The type of cooking I enjoy. Solid and steadfast, recipes you can rely on. Gourmet without being fiddly.
She is the sister of the actor Daniel Day Lewis. I used to see her on the television every now and then, but haven't seen her in a long while now. She's good. If you ever get a chance to see any of her cookery shows, do tune in. She is not a "star" per se, but she could cook circles around most cooks/ television chefs. That lady knows her onions!
This is such a simple recipe, with very simple flavours. Its just stewing beef/steak, onions, carrots, some herbs, a bit of flour and tomato puree and some Guinness. If you are opposed to using alcohol in your cooking, you can use beef broth, white grape juice or apple juice. In a dish like this where it is being cooked in the oven for several hours, most if not all of the alcohol will be cooked off, but if you don't want to take any chances, then use one of my suggested substitutes.
Tomato puree, or tomato paste as it is known in North America. I use Cirio, supercirio double concentrate that comes in individual little pots. I like the convenience of it in that I don't have to open a whole tube of tomato puree to get just a small amount, and I love the flavour of it. It is exceptional. Supercirio Tomato Puree delivers a genuine and delicate taste that is both distinctive and unmistakably authentic. Its rich and thick. I love the stuff, and in a recipe where quality counts, this is what you want to use.
The meat in this stew is fork tender and so delicious, with a rich gravy that will have you licking your chops. There are carrots in the gravy, which lend a beautiful sweetness to the dish.
A bouquet garni of rosemary, thyme, parsley, orange peel and bay leaf also adds some lovely flavours. This went down really well with some mashed potatoes and baby English peas.
*Braised Beef with Guinness*Serves 6 - 8
1 bouquet garni composed of 2 each springs of thyme, parsley and rosemary,
tied together with 3 bay leaves and 3 strips of orange peel
salt and black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 150*C/300*F/ gas mark 2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy bottomed flame to oven casserole dish which has a lid.
Note - because there are only two of us I quite successfully cut the recipe in half and it fed the both of us very generously with some leftovers for my husband to enjoy tomorrow.
I cooked it in my Le Creuset medium roasting/braising pot, which worked beautifully. The recipe makes use of a cartouche, or a layer of greaseproof paper between the lid and the pot which helps to hold in all of those lovely meat juices and flavours.
I really do hope that you will try it out. It is simple and delicious. Not a lot of faff, and filled with lots of lovely flavours. If you are a fan of well flavoured tender meat in a lovely thick and delicious gravy, then this is the dish for you! Bon Appetit!