Frosted cars, ice on the pond and Christmas decorations … all sure signs that winter is upon us. In a frosty climate it can be a challenge to simply raid the fridge and make a fulfilling meal.
So instead, make a delicious and hearty winter beef stew. Cost-effective and versatile, it warms both body and soul during the cold winter nights.
Hearty Winter Beef Stew
The recipe makes enough stew for a few meals. It’s so versatile and works with many side dishes, e.g. black bean coconut rice or a simple rice and pea stir fry. It can also be used to make a filling puff pastry pie, to go with cabbage and triple cooked chips.
- Sharp knife
- Chopping board
- Dutch oven or oven-proof casserole dish (with lid)
- Frying pan (optional)
- Kitchen tongs
- 1kg braising steak
- 1 onion
- 2 large carrots
- 1 large parsnip
- 200g pearl barley
- 200g button mushrooms
- 400g tin cannellini beans
- 500ml red cooking wine
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
This is cooked in a casserole dish or Dutch oven, so is suitable for a standard oven or Big Green Egg. I smoke the meat in the Big Green Egg, see the section below for specifics on that.
- Pre-heat the oven or Big Green Egg to 120°C/250°F.
- Dice the onion, carrots and parsnip. Drain the cannellini beans.
- Heat oil in a frying pan (or direct to casserole dish if cast iron). Add salt, pepper, onions and bay leaves and fry for a couple of minutes. If the meat is not being smoked, add it into the casserole dish and brown as well.
- If using a frying pan, transfer contents to casserole dish.
- Add cannellini beans, pearl barley, diced carrots, parsnip and mushrooms into casserole dish and stir in. Add 300ml red wine and then water to the level of the ingredients. Stir the mixture together. Cover (if not smoking the meat) and place in the oven or Big Green Egg.
- After 2 hours, remove casserole dish. If the meat is being smoked, add it to the casserole dish at this point. Add remaining red cooking wine, stir and return to oven/Egg. Cook covered for another 2-3 hours until beef is tender and can easily be pulled apart.
- Serve with vegetables or other side dishes.
Smoking the Meat
I like the flavour of smoked meat in this dish, it really makes winter warmer. And tastier. For the first two hours I smoke the meat on a grid over the open casserole dish using a single cherry or alder smoking chunk. Then I simply place the meat into the dish and cover it for the remainder of the cook.
Hints, Tips and Pictures
- To make a pie, buy some pre-made puff pastry sheets and bake in the oven, then place on top of pre-heated stew.
- Turn the braising steak with a pair of kitchen tongs to get full searing.
- The stew can be kept in the fridge and re-heated for further meals.
- Heat some stew up in a small saucepan and place in a pre-heated thermos flask for a hearty lunch at work.