Rich Beef and Red Wine Casserole Recipe
I love winter comfort food, and its the kind of food that reminds me of my dad (he’s English and loves casseroles). I’ve been hanging onto this recipe for awhile and I was going to post it once Meatless May was over, but I am already dreaming about winter warming stews and casseroles and I know many of you are too. For those of you not doing Meatless May, I present a beautiful recipe for slow cooked beef and red wine casserole, that unlike most stew recipes, has an equal amount of vegetables and meat. Part of the philosophy of Meatless May is to learn how to eat less meat, so if you wanted to, you could even reduce the amount of meat used to 700g. If you would prefer to use less vegetables, I would recommend no less than 700g (as it may end up too watery). I am hanging out to cook this one when Meatless May is over, but you could cook it tonight! I have been looking for a casserole recipe that would result in a thick, glossy gravy and beautiful soft vegetables. I think I have perfected this recipe!
You can put this in a slow cooker for 8 hours, but I think sometimes the cast iron pot and oven combination just adds something a little extra…
- Oil, for browning the beef
- 1kg diced beef (any braising cut you like)
- 4 tablespoons plain flour
- 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
- 2 brown onions, chopped
- 2 medium orange carrots, or 8 baby carrots, cut into chunks
- 1 large purple carrot, cut into chunks
- 4 small parsnips, cut into chunks
- 3 sticks celery, cut into chunks
- 8 baby potatoes, halved; or 3-4 medium ones, quartered
- 500ml red wine (a nice cab sav works well)
- 500ml beef or veal stock
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste/puree
- 2 teaspoons caster sugar
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sage leaves
- A few springs of thyme
- A sprig of rosemary
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed (not chopped, just broken open with the side of a knife)
- Salt and pepper
Note: you may need some additional liquid depending on the exact amount of vegetables and meat you use. I would have 250ml of wine and 250ml of stock (any stock) in reserve in case you need more liquid. I had 1kg meat and 1kg of vegetables and I needed about 300ml more liquid.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius fan forced (or 160 without).
Heat a flameproof casserole pan over medium-high heat and add a couple of tablespoons of oil. Place the flour, herbs and plenty of salt and pepper in a bowl. Over season the flour because when slow cooked, herbs and spices lose their pungency a bit. Toss the meat in the flour, then place into the casserole pot, browning the meat in two batches. Remove the meat to a plate and don’t be worried if you have a ‘crust’ of the flour and beef juices on your pan, we’ll get to those…
Add the onion and saute for a couple of minutes. Add a bit of your stock now if you feel your crust is burning, and turn down the heat a bit. When the onions have softened slightly, stir in any remaining flour and cook for 30 seconds.
Return the beef to the pan and add half of the wine, scraping the crust from the bottom of the pan (it will eventually loosen when cooking, so don’t worry if you can’t really see or feel it coming off the bottom). After a minute, add the remaining wine, the stock, the herbs (bay, sage, thyme), garlic, tomato paste and sugar, and stir well. Let it come to the boil, then cover it with a tight fitting lid and place it in the oven.
Tip: At this point you can put everything including the vegetables into the slow cooker.
Cook for 1 hour and a half (90 minutes), then uncover, add all the vegetables and stir well. If your vegetables aren’t quite covered and the gravy is already nice and thick, add up to another 500ml of stock/wine. Don’t make it too watery, but your vegetables should be mostly covered. Replace the lid and put it back in the oven.
Cook for another 45-60 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the meat is falling apart. Serve with cauliflower mash and crusty bread.