Beef Casserole

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Another fantastic winter warmer. When trying to lose weight, it's better to eat more chicken and fish, but you can still enjoy beef in moderation.

This dish is an old fashioned beef casserole with a stew-like consistency and is jammed packed with veg. There is a little bit of prep involved, so it might be a dish more suited to the weekend when you have bit more time to prepare. This weekend perhaps?!

The following recipe makes two generous portions.

Ingredients
• 1½ pints of boiling water
• 2 beef stock cubes, crumbled
• 1 vegetable stock cube, crumbled
• 2 teaspoons of tomato puree
• 2 sweeteners
• 1 teaspoon of dried or fresh thyme
• 2 teaspoons of dried or fresh parsley
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 bouquet garni
• 4 sprays of Fry Light One Cal Spray Oil
• 400g beef. Stewing beef is best. Trimmed of all visible fat and cubed
• 2 x bacon rashers. Trimmed of all visible fat and roughly chopped
• 50g mushrooms. Washed/wiped and quartered
• 5g / 1 teaspoon of low fat butter spread
• 1 medium onion. Peeled and finely chopped
• 2 cloves of garlic. Peeled and finely chopped
• 2 small carrots. Washed, topped, tailed, peeled and roughly chopped
• 2 sticks of celery. Washed, topped, tailed and roughly chopped
• 1 medium parsnip. Topped, tailed, peeled and roughly chopped
• 1 small swede. Topped, tailed, peeled and roughly chopped
• 75g peas. Fresh or frozen would both work
• 2 teaspoons of Bisto gravy power or gravy granules
• 1 teaspoon of corn flour
• Salt & pepper to taste

Method
  1. Add the boiling water to a large pot and crumble in the stock cubes. Turn the heat to medium and add the puree, sweeteners, seasonings, bay leaf, bouquet garni. Stir to make sure all the  ingredients are combined and let it bubble away.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan on a high heat and add 2 sprays of oil. Add half the beef and fry for 3-5 minutes until browned. Transfer the beef to the simmering stock.
  3. Then, add the second 2 sprays of oil and fry the rest of the beef until browned. Again, transfer to the stock when browned.
  4. Next, add the chopped bacon and fry for 2-3 minutes until browned. Transfer to the simmering stock.
  5. Reduce the heat under the pan to medium and add the mushrooms and fry for 5 minutes until browned. The mushrooms should clear any residue left by the beef and bacon. Add the mushrooms to the simmering stock.
  6. Next, add the butter. When it’s bubbling, add the onion. Stir gently for 3-5 minutes, until lightly coloured. Then add the garlic and continue to fry for a further minute. Add the onion and garlic mixture to the simmering stock.
  7. Next, add the chopped carrots and fry gently for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned. You should lightly season the carrots with salt and pepper. Transfer the carrots to the simmering stock.
  8. Next, add the chopped celery to the pan and fry gently for 5 minutes until lightly browned. You should lightly season the celery with salt and pepper. Also, transfer to the stock.
  9. Next, add the chopped parsnip to the pan and fry gently for 5-7 minutes until lightly browned. Lightly season the parsnip with salt and pepper. Also, transfer to the stock.
  10. Next, add the chopped swede to the pan and fry gently for 5 minutes until lightly browned.  Also, transfer to the simmering stock.
  11. Stir to make sure all the additional ingredients are combined. Bring the pot back to the boil for a minute or so. Then reduce the heat to low/medium and partially cover the pot with a lid and leave to simmer for a minimum of 1-1½ hours until the beef is tender.
  12. When the beef is done, remove the bay leaf and bouquet garni. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.
  13. Add the frozen peas and stir well.
  14. Combine the Bisto and cornflour in a cup or jug and add a little cold water, stirring to make a paste. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the Bisto/cornflour mix. Turn the heat back up to  high and return the pot to the heat, stirring all the while until the casserole bubbles and thickens.
  15. Then reduce the heat until you're ready to serve. 
  16. Check the peas are cooked through then transfer to two bowls and serve with Mashed Potato.

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