Beef and Tomato Stew Recipe
Beef and tomato stew
This simple stand-by keeps for up to two months in a deep-freezer, so make double or triple the quantity and freeze the extra.
50ml (3 tbsp) olive oil
25g (1oz) plain flour
900g (2lb) lean chuck steak, cut into 25mm (1 in) cubes
400g (14oz) canned tomatoes
2 beef stock cubes
350g (12oz) onions, skinned, halved and thinly sliced
15ml (1 tbsp) mixed dried herbs
285ml (½ pint) cold water
225g (8oz) carrots, peeled and sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat 35ml (2tbsp) of the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan or a flame-proof casserole dish. Add half of the chuck steak and cook over a high heat until lightly browned all over. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside. Brown the remaining meat and set it aside with the rest.
Add the rest of the oil, the onions and the carrots to the pan, and cook over a moderate heat for three to four minutes. Return the meat to the pan, stir in the flour and add the remaining ingredients. Bring to the boil while stirring, then reduce the heat to low. Cover with a tightly fitting lid and simmer for two to two and a half hours, until the meat is very tender, stirring occasionally. Serves four to six.
Allow the stew to cool completely after cooking (keeping it overnight will actually improve the flavour). Spoon it into a deep pie dish, adding just enough of the sauce to barely cover the meat and reserving the rest. Place a pie funnel in the centre, then cover the dish with shortcrust or puff pastry. Bake in a hot oven for 30-40 minutes, until the pastry is golden-brown. Heat the remaining sauce and serve with the pie.
Omit the carrots and mixed herbs, and add 15-35ml (1 -2tbsp) curry powder after cooking the onions. Fry the curry mix quickly, taking care not to burn the spices. Then add the meat and follow the main recipe. Serve with hot rice, poppadoms and chutney.
Omit the carrots and herbs from the main recipe, and add a sliced green pepper and two cloves of crushed garlic with the onions. Stir in 35ml (2tbsp) sweet paprika when you add the flour. Top with soured cream and parsley to serve.
You can add up to 450g (11b) celery, turnip, swede, green pepper or other vegetables to the basic stew, but you’ll need a little extra beef stock – just enough to barely cover the ingredients.
Pork, turkey or chicken stew
Substitute diced pork or turkey if you want a change from beef, or use chicken portions. Turkey and chicken will need 1 – 1-½ hours’ cooking; pork takes about the same time as beef.