Rich and full of flavour, nothing beats a great recipe for traditional beef casserole.
1kg gravy beef
2 tblsps olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
8 eshalots, peeled
4 bacon rashers, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 celery sticks, thickly sliced
140g tub tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
2 cups beef stock
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chopped parsley, to garnish
Mashed potato, green beans and peas, to serve
1 Trim excess fat from beef. Cut beef into 3cm pieces. Toss in half the oil.
2 Heat a large, flameproof casserole dish (24-cup capacity) over a medium to high heat. Cook beef in four batches, turning occasionally, until browned all over. Remove.
3 Reduce heat. Add remaining oil with garlic, eshalots, bacon, carrot and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are browned. Add paste. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add red wine. Bring to boil. Add stock. Bring to simmer. Return beef to dish with bay leaf.
4 Cook, covered, in a moderately slow oven (160C) for about 21/4 hours, or until beef is tender. Season. Discard bay leaf.
5 Garnish with parsley. Serve with mashed potato, green beans and peas.
■ By adding oil to the meat instead of to the pot, it reduces the oil you use and evenly browns the meat.
■ Cook meat over a medium to high heat in 250g batches until it forms a crust and moves easily around the pan. If meat is sticking, it's not ready to be turned yet.
■ Simmering casseroles gently is the key to a rich sauce and tender meat.
■ When casserole is cooked, the beef should fall apart with a fork.
■ Casserole can be made up to three days ahead. It can also be frozen for up to two months – thaw overnight in the fridge, then reheat.
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