Sunday, 28 February 2016

Yoohoo, It's Time For Stew!

Oh Dear God. I must be really tired to have honestly written that title but oh well. It's all fun and games really and you know you love my way with words.

So, as you can probably, hopefully, unless you don't know what the word means, tell, I made a stew. Now, I tried to do this last week and sadly made the mistake of leaving it on the heat for far too long so that by the time I got back to it, it was burnt to a frazzle...and I mean it, the pot had to be thrown away...there was no way we could have saved it...I'm a safety hazard, honestly. DON'T DO THAT AT HOME, KIDS!


As we are taught incessantly from the time we can walk: 'If at first you don't succeed, try, try, again'. So I did...and this happened. Enjoy!

Not Burnt, Just The Right Cookedness, Beef Stew...Thing

450g Lean Diced Beef
Soy Sauce
Garlic Granules
Chorizo (I bought one large chorizo which I cut up into smaller pieces but you can get mini ones in your average supermarket)
1 Large Onion
2 Cloves of Garlic
2 Large Carrots, 4 medium carrots, many little carrots (carrots...)
1 Large Leek (see above about carrots)
A Handful (or more) of Mushrooms
A Handful of Sage
2 Tins of Chopped Tomatoes
2 Oxo Beef Stock Cubes
Olive Oil + Salt and Pepper (Seasoning in general)

If your oven takes a while to warm up, I suggest turning it on before you start. Put it on around 130, preparing the dish while it heats up.
1. So first of all, you want to marinade your beef for as long as you can (although with mine, I was in a bit of a rush so I didn't leave it at all, but if you can, do!). Pour a dash...or two of soy sauce into a bowl, add some salt and pepper and any other seasoning (I used garlic granules and some Thyme) and chuck in the diced beef. Get your hands...or a spoon if you really want, in there and give it a mix. While that's marinading...or...stewing...ha! Prepare the veg, and chorizo, basically cutting them into reasonably small slices or chunks depending on your preference.
2. Once you're happy with the time you've left your beef to marinade, pour some olive oil into a deep pot and allow to heat up. Once it's hot (you can tell by looking, don't touch...duh), tip in the beef . Depending on how much you want, you may want to do this in batches. I didn't, but it probably would have sped up the process. You just want to get the meat so it has coloured but not too much as you will be slow cooking it later.
3. Once the meat is done, remove the pieces and place them in a separate bowl or on some paper towel while you do the rest. Using the same pan, now with additional meat juices (but you may want to add more olive oil) throw in the onion, allowing to soften, then the garlic, then the carrots and leeks and, eventually - once the slower veg have had a head start - add the mushrooms. If you want to add the bonus of my delicious chorizo, now is the point to add that too. 
4. Give the veg a stir, making sure nothing gets stuck to the bottom of the pan or begins to burn, adding more olive oil if needs be. Give it a taste (none of it will kill you, think of yourself as releasing your inner rabbit) and once all cooked to a reasonable degree (as with the meat, it is being cooked more later so don't worry too much) turn down the heat.
5. Now you can add the meat back to the pan. Mix all your ingredients up and allow those juices to flow. Once everything's combined, you can pour in the chopped tomatoes - you can also add some fresh ones if you like as long as they're peeled and cut up small but this isn't vital. 
6. Give it all a stir and throw in the sage leaves to just boost that flavour content a bit. Take your 2 oxo cubes and either crumble them straight into the pan dry and mix the stock in, or boil the kettle and make the stock itself in a separate jug before you add it.
7. Now, you can have another taste, altering the seasoning to your preference before putting the lid on and bringing it to the simmer - basically, wait for it to start to bubble gently, if it's pouring out of the lid and onto the floor creating a health and safety hazard, you've gone too far. 
8. Once it's reached this optimum simmering point and the oven has reached the right temperature, keep the lid on and place it roughly half way up/down on a rack. 
9. Now, you can simply sit back and wait for 1.5-2 hours, tasting on occasion, until you feel the meat has cooked enough and isn't could do the washing up while you wait or, if you're like me, you could leave that and just watch some youtube videos and read some blogs...take your pick. The finish point is when the meat is tender and yummy...the official, technical term. 
10. Take out, and serve with either pasta (tossed in some olive oil if you want to be all fancy pants like I did) or maybe some potatoes. I, luckily, had enough for leftovers twice so got to try both combinations and both were delicious. 

Have fun you! Enjoy that Stew!

Oh dear...I really do need to stop.

Happy eating.

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