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Stews and Casseroles

                                                                                  How to Avoid tough dry meat

A moist tender stew or casserole results from attention to several details of procedure, the most important rule:- Never let the meat interior get anywhere near to the boil. "A Stew Boiled is a stew Spoiled" attributed to Mrs Bridges from Upstairs Downstairs

  • Keep the meat as intact as possible to minimise fluid loss from the surface

  • Brown the surface of the meat very quickly in a Hot pan so the inside of the meat warms only slightly. This kills any microbes on the surface, and creates flavour.

  • Start the pot with the meat and cooking liquid in a cold oven, the pot lid ajar to allow some evaporation, and set the thermostat to 200ºF 93ºC so that it heats the stew to around 120ºF 50ºC slowly over 2 hours.

  • Raise the oven temperature to 250ºF 120ºC so that the stew slowly warms from  to 180ºF 80ºC.

  • After an hour, check the meat every half hour, and stop the cooking when it is easily penetrated by the tines of a fork. Let the meat cool in the stew, where it will reabsorb some liquid.

  • Should the liquid need to be reduced by boiling to improve consistency and flavour. Remove the meat first.

  • Remember it only takes a moment at the boil to dry out a good stew, so when reheating bring the liquid alone to the boil briefly then reduce the heat and add back the meat to warm through.

Sliced Casserole Steak

Rich Braised Beef with melting onions

  • Dust the beef slices with seasoned flour if using, brown the surfaces very quickly to get flavour. Set aside.

  • In a large pan heat 2 tablespoons of butter or dripping and fry lots of thinly sliced onion rings gently to caramelise them, patience you don’t want to crisp them, in the final few minutes add minced garlic.

  • Pour in some beef stock add large flat mushrooms and the casserole steak, some Worcestershire sauce to taste and black pepper. put in a hot oven in a thick casserole pan for 20-30minutes Do Not bring to the boil.

  • Cover and cook very gently for 4-5 hours not letting it simmer or boil observing the instructions laid out above.

  • Alternatively place the pre-browned beef caramelised onions ad mushrooms with the hot stock in a slow cooker, and follow the manufacturers instructions.

sliced casserole steak
Stewing Steak

Beef Bourguignon

  • Fry some bacon or pancetta, reserve the bacon fat place the pancetta on a bowl 

  • Quickly brown the seasoned stewing steak in the same pan remove to the same bowl

  • Fry onions in the same pan until soft add some garlic and halved chestnut mushrooms fry for 2 mins then add flour at this time if using, reduce the heat add red wine (burgundy) stock and bay leaves - simmer with the lid off.

  • Take off the heat add the stewing steak and pancetta 

  • cover and cook in a 250ºF 120ºC oven for 2 - 2.5 hours

  • Just before cooking time is complete fry some shallots in bacon fat for 5-10 mins taking care not to break them up, and add to the casserole. cook for a further 20-30 mins.

  • If you think there is too much liquid remember to take out the meat before you reduce it by boiling uncovered.

  • Either serve now with fresh pasta or even better the next day taking care not to boil when you reheat.

Pulled Beef
pulled beef

Delicious tender juicy pulled beef to have in a bread roll or lettuce wrap, popular with all the family.

 1. Dry your joint of beef sear in a hot pan to give a caramelised flavour. Then roll the joint in lots of ground coriander and cumin
2. Finely slice a couple of onions and put them under and around the joint in a tightly fitting casserole or slow cooker
3. Add a cupful of beef stock put in a medium hot oven for only 20 mins then reduce the heat to 130 Celsius for 6 hours
4. The beef is ready when it can be pulled apart with two forks. Remove from the liquid and shred. 
5 . Reduce the liquid and add a couple of capfuls of cider vinegar, 2 tablespoonfuls of tomato ketchup, Worcester sauce and chilli to taste, the add salt to taste.
6. Return the shredded beef to the sauce and warm through for 10 mins. 
7. Serve in a bun or with mashed potatoes or whatever you fancy.
It is even more delicious the next day. 😋

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