Sunday, 17 October 2010

Beef Stew

The day I cooked this stew there had been a new food delivery arriving at my home. I was keen to get some of those fresh ingredients cooked to free up storage space in my fridge as I had overspent as usual, and my fridge was at bursting point.

Thanks to my at times obsessive pre-planning, this stew was on my 'batch cook and freeze' to do list. I thought 'no time like the present'. 

I eat this meal in many ways - with a few nice slices of fresh bread, with green vegetables, with rice, or on top of a jacket potato. I'm even contemplating putting a couple of dollops inside some pastry and making a pie-cum-pasty. This allowed me to freeze it in various size portions - every extra meal squeezed out of fresh ingredients represents greater value for money.

Please note that I cooked approx 8-10 servings with the below set of ingredients. They just about all fitted into my huge casserole pan, so please please only prepare enough for 4 servings if you are unsure if everything will fit into your cooking pot !  On this occasion by the time I had all the ingredients prepared it was 9pm so I erred on the side of caution and cooked it for 3 hours. I had visions of falling asleep in front of Question Time (perfect cure for insomnia) and waking up in the early hours with a smoke filled kitchen and the smoke alarms beeping furiously, but I managed to stay awake until midnight when the stew was ready to remove from the oven.

The great thing about this stew is that you can swap the ingredients around with other veg or beans - its versatility is the beauty of it.

Serves 10
Cost Per Individual Serving:   £0.95

1.6kg Stewing or Casserole Steak, cut into small cubes   £5.49
1.4kg Floury Potatoes, peeled and diced into small cubes   £0.30
2 Tins of 400g Cooked Chickpeas, drained   £0.96
4 Tins of 400g Plum Tomatoes   £1.24
4 Red Onions, peeled and chopped   £0.50
4 Carrots, peeled and chopped   £0.20
5 Sticks Celery, washed and chopped   £0.87
2 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
2 Tsp Ground Cumin
Sea Salt
Ground Black Pepper
3-4 Sprigs worth of Picked Rosemary Leaves, chopped
2-3 Tbsp Olive Oil

1. Preheat oven to 140C (125C Fan Oven) /275F/gas 1 to cook over 6hrs or 180C (165C Fan Oven)/350C /gas4 to cook
    over 3hrs
2. Add oil to very large casserole pan and turn up hob to a medium-high heat until pan oil hot
3. Add onions, carrots, potatoes, celery, rosemary, paprika, and cumin and stir for 2-3min. Don't let veg stick to pan !
4. Add your meat, tin tomatoes, and chickpeas. Stir well
5. Lightly season; add water to pan until everything is just covered and bring to boil
6. Place lid on pan; put casserole pan into oven. That is it !!

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