beef and winter vegetable casserole

 

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It’s been getting seriously cold ‘up north’ at the moment (we had snow last Friday!) so I fancied nothing more than a warming beef casserole. I’ve never made a casserole before, partly because I’ve always been put off by the amount of meat and various fancy ingredients they often seem to contain. However, this one uses only dried herbs, and most ingredients you are likely to already have in the cupboard. It also cooks in one saucepan, and is really very easy!

Ingredients to serve four:

  • roughly 350g very lean casserole steak (I bought a pack of 700g for £5 from Sainsbury’s so I used half of this)
  • 1 onion (£0.15, Tesco)
  • 3 carrots (£0.18, Tesco)
  • 2 sticks of celery (£0.69, Tesco)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (£0.30, Tesco), finely chopped
  • dried parsley (£0.70, Tesco)
  • dried basil (£0.70, Tesco)
  • beef stock dissolved in 500ml boiling water (£1, Tesco)
  • tomato purée (£0.50, Tesco)
  • plain flour (£0.40)
  • potatoes (£1.75, Tesco)

Process:

  1. Heat a knob of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Chop up the onion, carrots, and celery into small chunks and put to one side.
  2. If the meat is not already in bite-size portions do this now, then add it to the pan and fry for a few minutes until browned on both sides.
  3. Sprinkle over a tablespoon of plain flour and allow to cook for a couple more minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and vegetables to the meat and fry them all for another 1-2 minutes or so.
  5. Next make the stock and add to the saucepan. Also add salt and freshly ground pepper and two tablespoons of both dried parsley and dried basil (add more to taste if you wish). Add two tablespoons of tomato purée and mix all together, placing a lid on the saucepan.
  6. You can either put the casserole in an oven-proof dish and cook on Gas Mark 4, or leave it on the stove on its lowest heat. Given that I don’t have a casserole dish (typical student!), I just left it on the stove and brought my work into the kitchen, as it shouldn’t be left unattended.
  7. Now you just have to wait! It will take between 1 hr 45 minutes and 2 hours – try it and see if the meat is tender and easily breaks in half, then you will know it is done.
  8. Boil some peeled and chopped potatoes for 15 minutes, then mash with a little milk and butter, and enjoy!
Total cooking time: roughly 2 hours
Preparation time: roughly 10 minutes
Price per portion: around £1.80 per portion
This felt like such a treat, and was neither expensive nor time-consuming (as long as you’re happy for it to just simmer away on its own for 2 hours!). I used this recipe from the BBC’s website to help me work out timings, but I think it’s fair to say my recipe is fairly different! I can’t wait to experiment with different flavours and meats – I’ve got a long winter ahead of me so expect to see more of this sort of thing 🙂
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