I like to kid myself, as I push a too-big trolley loaded up with NewHuman and whatever I’ve plundered from the baby aisle to keep him quiet on the journey through the store, that I’m a good grocery shopper, looking out for bargains in these lean times, making sure I’m not duped on 2-for-1 specials that aren’t that special and not buying shiitake mushrooms on a whim because I want to be that kind of cool person who regularly buys shiitake mushrooms.
I’m not. I do like to glance at the receipt post-checkout and gloat if I’ve managed to make a few pounds in savings on deals, and if particularly good I take a photo and send to the boyfriend via text message. It’s those kind of moments that make what we have together really special.
ANYWAY last week I was cruising the aisles, freezing my tits off in the meat section (it’s so cold that I swear I can feel icicles forming on my lady-moustache) when I saw some cheap stewing beef, I think skirt (??) on special and spent a grand total of £5 on two packs with the aim of making a nice vegetable-heavy stew. See? I’m a great shopper. I obviously went on to further fill the trolley with luxury ice cream and over-priced shiitake mushrooms but hey, that’s a story for another time.
Stew – I threw this together and chucked in the oven in the very short space of time I was allotted by NewHuman who did me the now-uncommon favour of passing out for 40 minutes in the late afternoon, before rising again, like the Alien, to wreak terror on me, the dog, and whatever foodstuff I placed on his highchair table.
Basically it’s really fast to put together, quite slow to cook but once in the oven, like most stews, you can forget about it till eat-time.
I had about 500g of stewing beef, I reckon.
Whatever veg you find in your fridge – I had carrot, parsnip, celery, onion, mushrooms and potatoes.
Tin of chopped tomatoes
Good squeeze of tomato paste
Glass of red wine, sadly for the stew rather than yourself, but please, do imbibe if you please.
Garlic, to taste
Stock – I used chicken as the beef was hiding somewhere in the back of the cupboard and I couldn’t be bothered to search for it. Still can’t, just bought some more on my recent trip to the market instead. Result.
Herbs – I had parsely, rosemary, thyme I think. Tie them in a nice bunch.
Salt and pepper – add this at the end, to your own taste
Roughly chop the garlic. As you can see I used quite a bit.
Preheat the oven to about 150C or so, fan oven. Maybe 160C. Can’t remember.
In a stew pot brown off the chopped beef in some oil. I used olive.
Add all the veg and stir about a bit.
Then add a good dessertspoon or two of plain flour and stir through over the heat. It’ll go gross and gunky. That’s what you’re after! The magic of cooking!
Then add your stock – I think I made 500ml worth, the wine, tomatoes and tomato paste, and if you think it needs a bit more coverage then top up with water.
Bring up to a simmer and throw the herbs in.
Chuck the lid on and into the oven with it, for at least 2hrs.
Dog, with dried mango.
I wish you could see what I see right now. I see NewHuman with a trail of snot descending gracefully from his right nostril, gurning at the dog (his favourite person in the whole world) and doing massive pooface with requisite sound effects. He’s very special.
Right, if you can be bothered, take the lid off for the final 30mins. I think in the end I did 2hrs lid on and 30mins lid off. Basically it’s impossible to cook this for too long.
Eat with some crusty bread.
This will make A LOT OF STEW – 6 quite generous portions.