Beef stew

Beef stew (with mash)

It’s been getting a bit more like Spring, thank goodness.  Although it’s a bit rainy the sun has been making a regular appearance and it’s been relatively warm.  Hurrah!  Time for the last few truly wintery recipes to make an appearance.  There’s something to be said for a thick beef stew with a pile of buttery mash.  Comfort food for certain.  This recipe can be varied depending on what you’ve got in the way of vegetables.  I find the canned tomatoes are essential, but any root vegetable will do if you don’t have carrots – turnips, swede, parsnips are all good.  You can swap out celeriac for celery, and leeks for the onions.  I use beef shin here because it is an excellent choice for the slow cooker, being transformed after hours of slow cooking, but other stewing cuts would work as well.  I did brown the meat before I popped it in the slow cooker because I find it transforms the final colour of the stew, rather than for any particular taste reasons.  You can therefore omit this step if you can’t face frying meat early in the morning.  For me though browning a bit of beef is no different to grilling a bit of bacon so not a problem.  Everything else goes in without any additional meddling.  I’d like to say I served this was colcannon as I usually do, but C is going through a phase of only really eating vegetables raw.  When I was a child I wasn’t so keen on plain cooked vegetables – cabbage, cauliflower and carrots all tasted better to me au naturel.  My mum would just leave me a bowl of uncooked vegetables to accompany my meal and that was that.  The only exceptions to the rule were potatoes, cooked all ways, and roast parsnips, yum.  So I actually served this with plain mash and a pile of uncooked shredded cabbage.  I’d forgotten how much I liked it!  Just have to remember to make a mash ‘barricade’ to stop the hot gravy getting on the cold cabbage…

Beef stew

Prep time 10 minutes Cook time 7-8 hours Makes 4 adult servings

  • 500g beef shin, diced into 2″ chunks, or other suitable stewing cut of beef
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 large carrots, cleaned and chopped into ½” chunks
  • 2 sticks celery, cleaned and sliced into 1″ chunks
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 200ml red wine, (optional)
  • 250ml stock, preferably homemade beef bone
  • 1 bouquet garni (mine contained thyme, parsley, bay and marjoram)
  • 1 extra bayleaf
  • 10g tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp gluten-free Worcester sauce (optional)
  • salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and sear the cubed meat on all sides before transferring to the slow cooker.  Add the chopped and sliced vegetables, the canned tomatoes, stock, bouquet garni, bayleaf and red wine if using.  Turn the cooker onto low and leave for 7-8 hours undisturbed.  You may serve as is, but if you prefer a thicker gravy then I mixed up the tapioca flour with a little water and stirred it into the pot after 7 hours were up, and while I prepared the mashed potato.  Check the seasoning and add the Worcester sauce if using.  Serve with side vegetables and mashed potatoes, or perhaps jacket potatoes (that what I’ll do with the reheated leftovers), but rice is lovely too.


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