Hearty Food for the Autumn Chill – Beef Stew in Red Wine Sauce

This week, there’s been a noticeable drop in temperature, and I’ve found myself bundled up in my dressing gown, socks and slippers with a hot water bottle on my lap to ward off the chills of Autumn in the evenings.

Of course, the heating cannot be switched on til November, a mantra to live by if you don’t want a sky high gas and electricity bill in the months to come.  Even with the energy companies telling us that prices are being kept as low as possible, it’s absolute sacrilege to think that your bill won’t go up.  When my husband and I first moved to our current house, our combined bill was £99.  A few months later this was put down to £55 a month, and then a few months later was increased to £85 a month.  I guess as we’ve only been here for a 14 months, EDF are still trying to work out the amount that works for us.  The mystery continues…

With Autumn in the room, and Winter flying in shortly, the mind turns to meals that will fill our bellies and warm our soul.  And what better meal to do this than Beef Stew in Red Wine Sauce.  This is a recipe that I’ve been cooking for the last two years and it is a definite cold weather favourite.  The beef is slow cooked, making it tender and melt in the mouth.  The gravy is made with red wine, making it rich and full of flavour.  Served with mash, roast potatoes or suet dumplings this satisfies the appetite and makes you feel good inside.

Beef Stew in Red Wine Sauce

Recipe adapted from Great British Food magazine

Serves 4

Preparation time – 30 minutes.  Cooking time – 2 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients:

175g streaky bacon, chopped

900g braising steak, cut into 4cm cubes

2 tbsps sunflower oil

12 small shallots, peeled

4 carrots, chopped

1 tbsp flour

300ml red wine

300ml beef stock

2 tbsps soy sauce

100g button mushrooms

1 tsp dried herbes de Provence

Method:

Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3.  Fry the bacon, remove and transfer to a large casserole dish.  In the same pan, fry the steak briskly in batches, transferring to the casserole pot as it browns.  Add more oil if needed.

Lower the heat and fry the shallots until golden.  Add the carrots and cook for a further two minutes.  Transfer to the casserole dish.

Stir the flour into a little of the wine, then add to the pan with the remaining wine, stock and soy sauce.  Bring to the boil, stirring until thickened, and then pour over the meat and vegetables.

Add the mushrooms and dried herbs, cover tightly and cook in the oven for 2 hours, until the meat is soft and tender.

Serve with mash, roast potatoes or dumplings.  If serving with dumplings, put these on top of the stew 20 minutes before the end of the cooking time and return to the oven to finish off.

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