We are currently having one of the worst summers on record in Ireland. I try to avoid mentioning it when I write about restaurants but I’m usually dripping at the table, my trousers sodden and clinging to me with my jacket creating a small moat around my chair. What starts off as deceptively nice morning sun can become a torrential downpour with hail stones within hours. I’m surprised we haven’t been washed off this tiny island yet, as this seems to be the ultimate goal of whoever is determined to punish us.
With this in mind, I present one of the most comforting, tummy-warming foods I can make; a stew that is packed full of flavour with melt in the mouth beef. This never lasts long in my freezer.
My mother will tell you this should be served with floury potatoes… but I wholeheartedly disagree and highly recommend buttered fresh, crusty bread instead.
Ingredients (Serves 4/5)
500g beef (Some sort of braising steak, like stewing beef or skirt. It needs to have the fat and connective tissue which break down during the long cooking.)
4 cloves garlic
1 tin chopped tomatoes (~400g)
1 tin tomato puree (~140g)
1.5 sprigs of rosemary
375ml red wine
2 beef stock cubes in 1 can of hot water (I use the chopped tomato can)
3 dessert spoons soy sauce
3 bay leaves
Salt, pepper, vegetable oil.
Steps to deliciousness
1) Coat the beef in some vegetable oil, pepper and salt.
2) Fry on a high heat until it is browned, and put aside.
3) Chop the onions and garlic. Saute in some vegetable oil until the onions start to wilt.
4) Chop the carrots and peppers, and add to the pan. Fry for a few minutes.
5) Add the beef back in and the rest of the ingredients.
6) The rosemary has to be chopped finely but he bay leaves should be left whole so you can pick them out at the end. Add as much pepper as you want – I usually just grind it in until my hand gets sore but I adore pepper. Follow your own heart.
7) Bring to a boil, and then turn down to a simmer for about 2 hours – You may need to add a little water during the cooking to make sure you’ve plenty of sauce at the end.
8) When the beef falls apart when you poke it with a fork, the stew is ready.