Beef and mushroom casserole

While Sally and I were cycling last week, we were chatting about what to have for supper. When she mentioned she was making her family a big beef stew, I thought it was such a great idea that I rushed to the shop after our ride and bought all the ingredients. You just cannot fail in my humble opinion with a slow cooked, warming casserole and a pile of buttery mash. Super comforting. You can prepare this particular recipe ahead and it freezes well too.

Beef and mushroom casserole

Beef and mushroom casserole

Ingredients serves 8
2 to 4tbsp olive oil
1.5kg (3lb 6oz) stewing beef, such as chuck or braising steak, cut into chunks
2 medium onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 large carrots, sliced diagonally
2 sticks celery, diced
3tbsp plain flour
2tbsp fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
8 anchovy fillets in oil, drained
3tbsp sweet sherry or port
400ml (14fl oz) good-quality beef stock
400ml (14fl oz) red wine
1tbsp tomato purée
pinch grated nutmeg
250 to 300g (9 to 10oz) chestnut mushrooms, halved if large

How to prepare
Preheat the oven to 140 C, 120 C fan, 275 F, gas 1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a hob-and-oven-proof casserole dish. Cook the meat in batches over a medium to high heat until it’s browned, then set aside.

Heat the remaining oil, if needed, in the casserole. Add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery. Cook for five minutes, then return the beef to the pan with the flour. Stir and cook for a few minutes. Add the herbs, anchovies, sherry, stock, wine, tomato purée, nutmeg and pepper. Bring to the boil, then cover and place in the oven for 3 hours 30 minutes.

Add the mushrooms to the casserole and return it to the oven for a further 30 minutes. Fab with a dark green vegetable and the pre-mentioned creamy mash (or baked potatoes). A real winner!