Stews are like magic. You can buy a relatively inexpensive cut of meat, throw it in a dish with some vegetables, herbs and stock, forget about it for a few hours and then - ta dah! Delicious, hearty, comforting stew, and also healthy too (if you trim the fat off the meat).
For me, the best thing about stews is that everyone can eat them together around the table. As you can see in the video, I get Joshua to help me prepare this Beef & Tomato Stew. As the preperation is quite quick he doesn't get too bored!
Beef and tomato stew is really easy, and there's no hard and fast rules about the ingredients. I like to use carrots, celery and any other vegetables I have in the fridge such as leeks, but use whatever you have in. Definitely add carrots though, as they give that lovely sweet flavour. Dried herbs are also a must such as rosemary, thyme and definitely bay leaves.
There's two ways you can cook this stew, depending on how much time you have. You can leave it simmering on the hob for about 2 hours, or you can pop it in the oven for 6 hours on a low temperature. There's something about baking it in the oven which makes it taste really great, you just need to be a bit organised. The result is a delicious, hearty, wholesome and nutritious stew - melt in the mouth beef in a rich tomato'ey sauce.
You can serve your stew with mashed potatoes, boiled potatoes, or some crusty bread to dunk. You can also add dumplings to the top if you wish towards the end of the cooking. As as the stew contains vegetables, there's no need for a side dish, but some steamed greens go well with it.
Easy Beef & Tomato Stew: Serves 4 adults:
Time: 20 mins prep + 2 - 6 hours cooking
Cost: £1.42 per serving
Calories: 332 per serving
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 1 large onion
- 500g stewing steak / casserole steak / diced beef (2cm pieces)
- 25g plain flour seasoned with salt & pepper
- 2 - 3 rashes smoked bacon, finely chopped (optional)
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 2 - 3 carrots, scrubbed and diced
- 2 sticks celery, finely chopped (optional)
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3 cloves garlic
- Tablespoon of Worcester sauce
- Teaspoon of mustard
- 500ml beef stock
- Peel and slice the onion into wedges. Fry in a little oil until soft. Meanwhile, toss the beef in the seasoned flour until coated. This will help thicken the sauce and help the sauce to stick to the beef so give it more flavour.
- When the onions are soft, add the beef and stir to brown all over. Add the bacon, and stir through the beef and onions, cooking for about a minute. Now add all the remaining ingredients and give it a really good stir.
- Now there's two options to cook your stew:
- Option 1: Leave it simmering on the hob for 2 hours, partially covered. If the sauce is a little thin, remove the lid and cook for a further 15 minutes. Serve.
- Option 2: Pour it into a casserole dish and place in an oven (with lid on) preheated at 160 C / gas mark 3 for 6 hours. After 6 hours, give it a good stir, remove lid and cook for a further 20 - 30 minutes at 180 C / gas mark 4. Serve.
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