Saturday, 31 March 2012

Slow Cooked Beef Casserole

There is nothing more warming and comforting as my slow Cooked Beef Casserole.  I know that casseroles are a little work, but the great thing is that they can be cooked the day before, they can be frozen and saved for later, and I often recreate a different dish with any left overs.    There are a few tricks to getting a great casserole.  Firstly, make sure you have a really good casserole dish which can be taken straight from the top of the stove and placed in the oven.  (Why waste all those fantastic carmelised onion and meat flavours created when browning your meat.)  Secondly, make sure you allow enough time for cooking so that the meat almost melts.  This recipe has been modified from Stephanie Alexander's Bolognese Sauce

1/4 plain flour seasoned with salt and pepper
700g diced gravy beef
Olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
1 stick of celery finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic crushed
100g diced pancetta
1/2 cup dry white wine
freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups chicken stock
1 can pureed tomatos
1 tub tomato paste
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf

Dredge the beef in the seasoned flour.  Heat oil in casserole dish and brown the meat in batches.  Set meat aside.

Heat a little more oil in the casserole dish.  Add the onion, celery, pancetta, and garlic.  Cook until onion is nicely brown and slightly caramelised.

Return the beef to the casserole dish.    Add all the other remaining ingredients.  Place in the oven set to 160 oC and cook for at least 1 hour or until the meat is falling apart.

I like to serve this casserole with either mashed potato or couscous.

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