When the weather is cold and it's raining outside you want something warm and delicious to come home to. This rich beef and vegetable casserole really hits the mark whilst making the most of less costly cuts of meat.
2 celery sticks, thickly sliced
1 onion , chopped
2 really big carrots, halved lengthways then very chunkily sliced
5 bay leaves
2 thyme sprigs, 1 whole and 1 leaves picked
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 beef stock cubes, crumbled
850g stewing beef (featherblade or brisket works nicely), cut into nice large chunks
Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3 and put the kettle on.
Put 2 thickly sliced celery sticks, 1 chopped onion, 2 chunkily sliced carrots, 5 bay leaves and 1 whole thyme sprig in a flameproof casserole dish with 1 tbsp vegetable oil and 1 tbsp butter.
Soften for 10 mins, then stir in 2 tbsp plain flour until it doesn’t look dusty anymore, followed by 2 tbsp tomato purée, 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce and 2 crumbled beef stock cubes.
Gradually stir in 600ml hot water, then tip in 850g stewing beef and bring to a gentle simmer.
Cover and put in the oven for 2hrs 30 mins, then uncover and cook for 30mins – 1hr more until the meat is really tender and the sauce is thickened.
Garnish with the picked leaves of the remaining thyme sprig.