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Posts Tagged ‘Stew’

Our Korean Kitchen by Jordan Bourke and Rejina Pyo has been on our bookshelves for ages. We take it down occasionally and remind ourselves that we should really go and get some Korean ingredients. At last we have bought gochujang chilli paste, gochugaru red pepper powder and a big bottle of roasted sesame seed oil, so we can get cooking. This beef dish could not be simpler and the flavours are fab.

Wine Suggestion: as we’re pretty new to Korean flavours we had no idea what to match and just opened what our guests had brought along; the Olianas Cannonau (Grenache) from Sardinia. A lovely wine which was both subtle and elegant, and heady with spice and warm sunshine; very well balanced. Plus it was a delight with the Bulgogi stew.

Korean Beef & Vegetable Stew – bulgogi jeongol – serves 4 to 6

  • 1 quantity marinated beef, see below
  • 100g rice noodles
  • 1 litre good quality beef stock
  • 1 tbsp gochujang chill paste
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp roasted sesame seed oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ an onion, finely sliced
  • ½ a red pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • ½ a courgette, halved lengthways and sliced into thin strips
  • 1 large carrot, halved lengthways and sliced into thin strips
  • 50g enoki or shitake mushrooms
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

FOR THE MARINATED BEEF:

  • 450g beef sirloin, cut into very thin bite-size pieces
  • 1 Asian or 2 regular pears, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • ¼ onion, roughly chopped
  • 1cm piece of ginger, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2½ tbsp soy sauce
  • 1½ tbsp honey
  • 1½ tbsp roasted sesame seed oil
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Start by marinading the beef. Put all of the ingredients, except the beef, into a food processor and whizz until smooth. Pour into a bowl then stir in the sliced beef. Cover and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Soak the noodles in a bowl of water according to the instructions on the pack, about 30 minutes.

Put the beef stock, gochujang paste, soy sauce, sesame seed oil and garlic into a pan and bring to the boil.

Meanwhile, arrange the onion, red pepper, courgette, carrot, mushrooms, and most of the scallions in a pile around the edge of a large pot with a lid, and put the raw marinated bulgogi in the middle. Drain the noodles and tuck these in beside the beef.

When the beef stock has come to a rolling boil, put the vegetable pan over a high heat and pour in the hot stock. Cover and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until everything is cooked through.

Just before serving, mix it all together in the pan and sprinkle over the toasted sesame seeds and remaining scallions.

(Original recipe from Our Korean Kitchen by Jordan Bourke & Rejina Pyo, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2015.)

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braised-venison.jpg

A little nod to game season and a great winter stew. Don’t be tempted to buy anything too lean as you need the fat to stop the venison becoming dry when slow-cooking.

Wine Suggestion: This dish needs a juicy red wine with structure, but not too many dry tannins. Tonight we tried Domaine Rochette’s Morgon, a good cru Beaujolais, and were delighted how well it worked.

Braised Venison – serves 8

  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 140g turnip/swede, roughly chopped
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 3 celery sticks, roughly chopped
  • olive oil and butter, for frying
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1kg boned haunch or shoulder of venison cut into large chunks
  • 5 tbsp plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp redcurrant jelly
  • 450ml dry red wine e.g. Rioja
  • 450ml beef stock
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf

Heat the oven to 180C/Fan 160C/Gas 4.

Fry the vegetable in a little oil or butter in a heavy casserole for about 5 minutes or until golden. Add the garlic and fry for a further minute, then set aside.

Put the venison into a plastic bag with the seasoned flour and shake to coat. Add a little oil and butter to a large frying pan and fry the venison over a high heat until well browned. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and add to the casserole with the vegetables. You will need to do this in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan. Add a little more oil and butter with each batch if needed.

Add the redcurrant jelly and wine to the frying pan and bring to the boil, scraping any crusty bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the wine mixture to the casserole dish, then add the beef stock, thyme, and bay leaf. Season and bring to the boil, then cover and cook in the oven for 1½ hours or until tender. Check the seasoning before serving. We enjoyed ours with some dauphinoise potatoes and green cabbage.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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Mustardy Beef

Another successful dish from Jamie Oliver’s ‘5 Ingredients’. Such a clever book with lots of simple dishes and bags of flavour. We served with creamy chive mash and buttered cabbage.

Wine Suggestion: We quite like to have richer, Southern French reds with casseroles, sometimes from the Rhône but this time we opened a Mas Amiel Pur Schist from Rousillon; another find hiding in the corner of the cellar. Rich, warm and at the same time elegant and sophisticated.

Meltin’ Mustardy Beef – serves 6

  • 900g beef shin (get your butcher to remove the bone but take it with you for extra flavour), diced into 5 cm chunks
  • 500g carrots, cut into 5 cm chunks
  • 2 onions, peeled, quartered and broken into petals
  • 120ml Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 heaped tsp wholegrain mustard

Heat your oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3.

Put a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Toss the beef with lots of black pepper and a good pinch of salt, then dry fry in the hot pan with the bone for about 8 minutes or until nicely browned.

Heat a shallow casserole pan over a high heat. Add the carrots with a tbsp of olive oil and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the onions and continue to cook until starting to soften and colour a bit. Add the browned meat, then stir in the Worcestershire sauce and mustard plus 800ml of boiling water from the kettle.

Cover the casserole and cook in the oven for 4 hours or until super tender. Loosen with a splash of water if necessary. Season to taste and serve with mash and greens.

(Original recipe from ‘5 Ingredients’ by Jamie Oliver, Penguin, 2017.)

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This is the ‘succulent lamb stew’ from Jamie Oliver’s latest book – ‘5 Ingredients’ . It takes a little while in the oven but requires virtually no prep and the results are super tasty. Who knew a jar of pickled onions could be such a revelation? We served with buttery mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.

This is the third recipe we’ve tried from this book and have yet to be disappointed. Go Jamie!

Wine Suggestion: we found that a youthful wine from Jumilla, the Finca Bacara “3015” Monastrell was a great match. It was perfectly ripe but avoided the clumsy tannins of other Monastrell we’ve had in the past despite being young and only spending 2 months in oak to bring it together. Look for juicy fruit, freshness, and bold but supple and unobtrusive tannins in whatever you choose.

Easiest Ever Lamb Stew – serves 6

  • a few good sprigs of rosemary, about 15g, leaves stripped
  • 800g boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 3cm chunks
  • 150g mixed-colour olives
  • 1 x 280g jar of silverskin pickled onions
  • 2 x 400g tins of plum tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 170C/Gas 3.

Heat a 30cm shallow casserole pan over a high heat, add 1 tbsp of olive oil and toss the rosemary leaves around for about a minute to crisp up. Scoop out the rosemary and set aside, then brown the lamb for a couple of minutes in the same pan.

Drain the pickled onions and add to the pan with the olives (remove the stones if necessary first). Stir everything together before adding the tinned tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon, plus 2 tinfuls of water. Cover and cook in the oven for 2 hours, or until the sauce has thickened and the lamb is meltingly tender. Jamie suggests stirring half-way through and adding a splash of water if needed. After an hour we had loads of liquid left in the dish so cooked for the remaining hour with the lid off. It probably depends on the heat in your oven so do as needed.

Taste the dish and season with salt and black pepper, then sprinkle over the crispy rosemary to serve.

(Original recipe from 5 Ingredients by Jamie Oliver, Penguin, 2017.)

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Maroccan kale, chickpea and squash stew

So here we are in October which in our house means thoughts are turning towards Autumn veg, warm casseroles and roast dinners. Here’s a really delicious, but healthy, idea for your first butternut squash.

Wine Suggestion: A little tricky this match but we have two suggestions: a juicy and spicy, Californian Zinfandel – get a good one if you can, like Cline or Ridge; or the Altos de Torona Albariño, a richly fruited white with spices and textures to complement the spices in the dish.

Moroccan chickpea, squash & cavolo nero stew – serves 4

  • 4 tomatoes, halved
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g butternut squash, peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 x 400g tins chickpeas, drained
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp harissa
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 100g feta, crumbled
  • 1 lemon, zested and cut into wedges
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds, toasted in a dry pan and lightly crushed
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 200g cavolo nero, shredded
  • a handful fresh coriander leaves, to serve

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Put the tomatoes on a baking tray lined with baking parchment, drizzle over 2 tbsp olive oil, season well and roast in the oven about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour 2 tbsp oil into a large saucepan and add the squash, thyme, garlic and onion. Season well and cook over a low heat for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften.Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, bay leaf, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric and harissa. Season and pour in the stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 30-35 minutes or  until the liquid has reduced.

Mix the feta with the last tbsp of olive oil and the lemon zest in a small bowl.

Add the ground coriander and cavolo nero to the stew and cook for a couple of minutes. Put the stew into bowls and top with feta, some coriander leaves and fennel seeds, and some seasoning. Serve with the lemon wedges.

(Original recipe by Romilly Newman for BBC Good Food)

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Daube of Beef

Daube of Beef

This dish was traditionally cooked in a glazed clay pot. However these have successfully been replaced by cast-iron casseroles, like our favourite oval shaped one from le Creuset. It keeps the heat stable which makes it perfect for the long and slow cooking required for this dish. Very like our Chianti Beef recipe but with a few French touches.

Wine Suggestion: with a nod to the French origins of this dish we’d suggest a good Gigondas from the Rhone to match. With rich brambly fruit, good spicy tannins and a touch of elegant leathery development the Grapillon d’Or Gigondas was immensely enjoyed last time we cooked this, but other GSM (Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre) blends from around the world would work well too.

Daube of Beef – serves 6

  • 1.2kg shin of beef, cut into large pieces
  • 4 tbsp plain flour, well seasoned
  • oil for frying
  • 200g smoked bacon lardons
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 celery sticks, sliced thickly on a diagonal
  • 4 carrots, sliced thickly on a diagonal
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 750ml red wine
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 cloves, ground
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 strips of orange peel
  • flat-leaf parsley, to serve

Heat the oven to 150ºC/Fan 130ºC/Gas 2.

Toss the beef in the seasoned flour (we shake them together in a large freezer bag).

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large non-stick frying pan and brown the beef in batches before transferring with a slotted spoon to a large casserole dish with a lid. Add the bacon to the frying pan and cook until brown and crispy, then scoop out and add to the casserole with the beef. Cook the onions until golden and caramelised then add these to the beef. Finally fry the carrot and celery until just starting to colour. Add the garlic and cook for a minute then add to the beef. Add a splash of wine to the frying pan to deglaze, stirring to scrape any crusty bits from the bottom of the pan, then tip into the casserole. Add the rest of the wine to the casserole and bring to a simmer. Stir in the tomato purée, cloves, bay leaves and orange peel.

Transfer the casserole to the oven and cook for 2½ hours or until the meat is very tender – leave the lid off for a while at the end if you want the sauce to thicken to bit. Scatter with the parsley to finish.

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes in BBC Olive Magazine, September, 2012).

 

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Venison & Chorizo Cassoulet

Cassoulets are rich gamey stews with white beans and baked in the oven; they are perfect for cold winter days. We used a very lean cut of venison and were concerned about the long cooking time, but as the temperature is so low, the meat becomes meltingly tender. This couldn’t be easier to assemble and gives you plenty of time to relax and read a book by the fire.

Wine Suggestion: Ideally you would pair this with an equally rich & gamey wine – perhaps an old Northern Rhône Syrah, a red Burgundy or a good Oregon Pinot Noir.

Venison & Chorizo Cassoulet – serves 4

  • 600g venison, diced
  • 100g cooking chorizo, diced
  • 20g butter
  • 50g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled & chopped
  • 150ml red wine
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 200g tinned haricot beans, rinsed and drained
  • a pinch of dried tarragon
  • 2 tsp redcurrant jelly
  • 300ml chicken stock

Heat the oven to 150C/Fan 130C/gas 2.

Put all of the ingredients into a casserole with a lid. Stir, season well and cover with the lid.

Cook in the oven for 2½ – 3 hours, or until the meat is very tender.

If the sauce is a bit thin, transfer the dish to the hob and simmer gently with the lid off until you get a nice consistency.

That’s it!

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Beef shin braised in Chianti

Take a shin of beef and braise it for hours in a bottle of Chianti until it can be carved with a spoon … what’s not to like!

Wine Suggestion: the obvious choice is Chianti but given the richness and depth in the food make sure it is one with a bit of depth; younger, or more basic Chianti is just too light. We tried one by Tenuta Sant’Alfonso which comes from a specific vineyard with clay-rich soils which was opulent and fuller structured. It had licorice, dark cherry and mocha flavours which was a great match.

Tuscan slow-cooked shin of beef with Chianti – serves 6

  • 1kg beef shin, off the bone
  • olive oil
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 3 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely sliced
  • 6 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 750ml Chianti or other robust red wine
  • 4 tbsp tomato purée
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 150ml beef stock

Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.

Season the meat, then brown in a large casserole with a little olive oil.

Remove the meat and cook the onions, celery, carrot and garlic until softened, adding a bit more oil if needed.

Pour in the wine and bring to the boil before adding the tomato purée, bay leaves & beef stock.

Return the beef to the pan and bring to a simmer.

Cover with a lid and cook in the oven for 4 hours or until the meat falls apart.

When ready, pull the meat into chunks and stir through the sauces.

Serve with mash or fresh pappardelle pasta.

(Original recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, September 2015.)

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Aubergine & Lamb Stew

This is not the best looking dish but who cares when it tastes this good. To quote Itamar Srulovich (of Honey & Co. and the author of this recipe):

“Do not cook it to impress. Cook it for the ones you love the most, or just for you; it is that good.”

We concur Itamar!!

Wine Suggestion: Try a Mediterranean-style wine, a Primitivo or something similarly juicy from the south of Italy. We paired this with a lovely organic wine by Michele Biancardi, his Uno Piu Uno which is a cracking blend of Primitive and Nero di Troia. Only 12.5% abv but juicy and delicious so it didn’t overwhelm the lamb and aubergine and had enough depth to compliment it perfectly.

Patlican – Lamb & aubergine stew – serves 2

  • 450g lamb neck, cut into large dice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 aubergine, cut into large cubes (about 350g)
  • 1 large tomato, cut into large cubes
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 6 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
  • ½ small red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 150ml water
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses

Season the lamb cubes with the salt and pepper.

Heat a large pan over a medium-high heat, add the oil and the diced lamb, and sear the meat all over. When the meat has browned (about 5-6 minutes), add the aubergine, tomato, onion & garlic. Cover and leave to steam for 5 minutes, then remove the lid and stir in the chilli and thyme. Reduce the heat to low and cook slowly for about 15 minutes, then pour in the water and pomegranate molasses.

Keep cooking on a low heat for 50-60 minutes or until the veg have broken down and the meat is soft enough to tear with a fork.

Serve with bread so you waste no sauce!

(Original recipe from Honey & Co.: Food From the Middle East by Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich, Saltyard Books, 2014.)

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Bœuf à la Gardiane

 

Another classic from Elizabeth David, this stew originates in the Gard region of France and is very simple but full of flavour. Elizabeth suggests serving it with rice (a la Camargue) but it also worked well with roast potatoes and rosemary. There won’t be a lot of sauce as it is almost all absorbed by the meat as it cooks but this part of the charm; intensely flavoured, tender beef.

Wine suggestion: This dish would go well with any of the local red wines of the Gard and surrounding southern-French regions (Rhone, Languedoc, etc). Any combination of Grenache, Carignan, Cinsault, Mourvedre and Syrah will work, particularly if they come from older, lower yielding vines and a sensitive hand in the winery. We drank a VdP La Clape from Domaine de Boède, Le Pavillon which is a great value combination of Cinsault and Syrah and which stood up to the flavours and adding it’s own character.

Bœuf à la gardiane – serves 4-5

  • 1kg top rump of beef, cut into small neat cubes approximately 2.5cm square
  • butter and olive oil
  • 4 tbsp brandy
  • 1 large glass of full-bodied red wine
  • bouquet garni of thyme, parsley, a little strip of orange peel and a whole garlic clove crushed with the back of a knife but left whole (tie together with thread)
  • 175g stoned black olives

Heat the butter and oil in a heavy based casserole dish and brown the beef in batches.

Warm the brandy in a soup ladle, pour over the meat, then carefully set alight. Shake the pan carefully until the flames go out.

Add the red wine and bubble for 30 seconds before seasoning with a little salt and pepper. Add the bouquet garni, turn the heat down as low as possible and cover the pan with at least two layers of greaseproof paper or foil and the lid.

Cook as gently as possible for about 3½ hours. Ten minutes before the end, remove the bouquet garni and add the olives.

Season to taste and serve.

(Original recipe from At Elizabeth David’s Table: Her very best everyday recipes, compiled by Jill Norman, Penguin, 2010.)

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Humble Chicken Stew

This is a great way to use up leftover roast chicken – including the carcass. Too often we guiltily put the bones in the bin.

Wine Suggestion: Our natural instinct when cooking chicken is to plump for a Chardonnay as it goes so well, but instead we drank a delightful German Pinot Noir from Villa Wolf, which is made by Ernie Loosen. He’s managed to get a real charm and ripeness in the aroma that tempts you to think this comes from a warmer country, with even a few hints of new World. It, however, is true to it’s roots and had a rounded earthiness and real charm along with an easiness and gentle weight that didn’t overwhelm the chicken; plus the earthy spice complemented the “humble” nature of this dish too.

Chicken Stew – to serve 4

  • 300g leftover roast chicken
  • 1 chicken carcass
  • 4 rashers smoked streaky bacon, finely sliced
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 potatoes, chopped
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 200g button mushrooms, halved
  • 1 heaped tbsp plain flour

Place the chicken carcass in a large pan and bash with a rolling pin to break it up. Cover with 1 litre of water, bring to the boil and simmer for at least half an hour, skimming off any scum.

Meanwhile, heat a lug of olive oil in a casserole over a medium heat and add the bacon. Cook for a few minutes before adding the onions, carrots and potatoes along with the thyme and bay leaves. Cook for 10 minutes.

Stir in the mushrooms, chicken and flour.

Pour the stock through a sieve straight into the pan (add a bit of water if necessary). Simmer for 4o minutes and season to taste before serving.

(Original recipe from Save with Jamie, Penguin Books Ltd, 2013.)

 

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An easy version of Peposo which works a treat and reheats perfectly. The peppercorns are very much the star of the show rather than the seasoning.

Wine Suggestion:  Regional foods are generally complemented by the wines of the same region so go for a good Tuscan wine that will be able to stand up to this rich stew. We had a Morisfarms Mandriolo from the Maremma.

Hunter’s Stew – to serve 4-6

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1kg stewing steak, in big chunks
  • 3 onions, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 250ml red wine
  • 1 x 400g tin tomatoes
  • 1 whole tube of tomato purée

In a large saucepan, with a tight fitting lid, heat the olive oil and brown the beef well.

Season with plenty of salt, then add the onions, garlic, and peppercorns and cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until the onions are soft and reduced.

Add the remaining ingredients, cover with a lid and cook very gently for about 2 hours, stirring regularly.

Check the seasoning after 90 minutes and add a bit of water if necessary. If it is too liquid you can remove the lid for the last 20-30 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly before serving with potatoes or polenta.

(Original recipe by Domini Kemp in THE IRISH TIMES Magazine, September 21, 2013.)

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This really is the easiest beef stew ever and can be made successfully by anyone. It’s also very tasty and great for feeding a crowd. Just fling everything together and chuck it in the oven.

The Easiest Ever Beef Stew – to serve 6

  • 1.5g stewing steak, cut into chunks
  • 60g plain flour
  • 2 tsp good-quality paprika
  • 400g tin of tomatoes
  • 1 glass of wine (red or white will do)
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 stick celery, finely sliced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 3 potatoes, cut into chunks

Heat the oven to 180ºC.

Put the flour and paprika into a large plastic bag. Add the beef and shake to coat.

Put the beef into a cast-iron casserole.

Whizz the tomatoes and their juice in a food processor, or roughly crush with a wooden spoon, and add to the meat.

Add all of the other ingredients and stir.

Press a piece of baking paper over the stew and cover the casserole with a lid.

Cook in the oven for 2 hours. Taste for seasoning. Check if the meet is tender and cook for a bit longer if necessary.

Wine Suggestion: A rustic red is all that’s needed here and you may as well finish the bottle you opened for this recipe. Something from the Languedoc should fit the bill.

(Original recipe from The Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander, Penguin Books, 2004.)

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Simple and tasty one-pot that takes just half an our to make. It’s pretty low in calories too for all you January dieters!

Pork, chilli and bean stew – to serve 4

  • olive oil
  • 400g diced pork
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • a large pinch of chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 red pepper, cut into chunks
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • 250g small salad potatoes, halved
  • 100g green beans
  • small bunch of coriander, chopped

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick pan.

Season the pork and quickly brown. Remove the pork from the pan and add the onion and garlic and cook for a minute.

Add the chilli flakes, cumin and pepper and cook for another couple of minutes.

Return the pork to the pan with the tomatoes and stock. Bring to a simmer and add the potatoes. Cook for 10-15 minutes then add the beans and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Season and scatter over coriander to finish.

Wine Suggestion: A juicy, ripe red with plenty of choices from either Spain, Southern Italy or the New World. Just avoid anything with too much weight and alcohol.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Daube de Boeuf Provençale

This is really rich winter stew which is great for a dinner party as you can make it in advance and just re-heat it and cook some veg to serve. You will need to start marinading the beef the night before. The anchovies act like a seasoning and really enhance the flavours of the dish, rather than adding any fishy flavours, so don’t leave them out.

Beef Provençale – to serve 8

  • 1.3kg lean stewing beef (like topside or chuck)

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 300ml dry white or red wine
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp thyme or sage
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 110g carrots, thinly sliced
  • 110g onions, thinly sliced
  • 450g streaky bacon cut into 1cm lardons
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 150ml beef stock
  • 175g sliced mushrooms
  • 10 anchovy fillets
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 3 tbsp white or red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed

Cut the beef into large very large chunks, about 8cm. Mix the marinade ingredients in a large casserole. Add the meat, cover and marinade overnight in the fridge or somewhere cool. Remove the meat to a plate and strain the marinade, reserving both the liquid and the vegetables.

Heat the oil in a frying pan, cook the bacon lardons until crisp, add to the casserole. Dry the meat with kitchen paper and seal in the hot pan, then add to the bacon along with the marinated vegetables and tinned tomatoes.

De-glaze the frying pan with the marinade and beef stock, then add to the casserole. Bring to the boil and simmer very gently either for about 1½ – 2 hours. Alternatively you can cook bring to a simmer and then transfer to a preheated oven 170ºC/gas 3.

Meanwhile sauté the sliced mushrooms on a hot pan and set aside.

When the meat is really soft and tender, liquidise the anchovies with the capers, parsley, wine vinegar and garlic. Add to the casserole along with the mushrooms. Simmer gently for another 8-10 minutes. Taste and season if necessary (you probably won’t need salt).

Serve with mash and green veg.

Wine Suggestion: We shared a bottle of “le Carignator” by Jean-Marie Rimbert from the St Chinian area of southern France with some friends and it was perfect; juicy fruit with depth, personality, subtle Garrigue spices and real interest. We think it is worth seeking out if you can as it is rare to get 100% Carignan in a wine,  which is a shame as this wine proves. Jules found it in Bubble Brothers in Cork and gave it to Jono for Valentines.

(Original recipe from Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course, Kyle Cathie Limited, 2001.)

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Perfect as the nights close in and the seasons change. This is our second recipe from Rick Stein’s Spain and another success. It takes two days to make but is so straightforward that it’s not a chore at all. As we had torrential rain in Dublin on Saturday and Sunday we could not have picked a better weekend to try it!

P.S. you have to like sucking on bones!

Oxtail and Red Wine Stew from Pamplona – Rabo de torro de Pamplona – to serve 6

  • 2kg oxtail, cut across into 5cm thick pieces
  • 50g plain flour, seasoned
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 200g carrots, sliced
  • 175g leeks, thickly sliced
  • 4 tbsp brandy
  • 500ml red wine
  • 500ml dark beef stock
  • A bouquet garni of bay leaves, parsley stalks and thyme sprigs
  • 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

Trim the excess fat off your oxtail pieces and season well with salt and pepper. Toss in the seasoned flour and knock off the excess, keep the remaining seasoned flour. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large flameproof casserole over a medium-high heat, add the oxtail pieces in batches and fry until well browned. Lift them onto a plate as they are done.

Add the rest of the oil to the pan with the garlic, onions, carrots and leeks and fry for about 10 minutes or until browned.

Pour the brandy over and set alight. Once the flames have died stir in the remaining seasoned flour, then gradually stir in the red wine and bring to the boil, stirring. Simmer for 3 minutes, then stir in the oxtail, the beef stock, bouquet garni, 1/2 tsp of salt and lots of black pepper. Cover and simmer gently for 2 1/2 – 3 hours, until the oxtail is tender but not falling apart yet. Remove from the heat, leave to cool, then cover and chilli overnight.

The next day, scrape the layer of fat off the top of the casserole. Gently reheat, then lift the oxtail into a bowl. Pass the sauce through a fine seive into a clean pan, pressing out as much sauce as you can with the back of a ladle. Discard what’s left in the sieve. Return to the heat and simmer vigorously for 5-10 minutes until the sauce is reduced and is well flavoured. Return the oxtail, season and simmer for 5 minutes to heat through. Serve sprinkled with chopped parsley.

Nice with steamed or mashed potatoes and broccoli.

Wine Suggestion: Pick a medium bodied red wine based on Tempranillo and maybe with a dollop of Garnacha to give it extra juiciness. We drank a Sierra Cantabria Cuvée which had some good age in the bottle and 18 months in oak which softens and rounds the tannins. Anything heavier or more tannic will feel a bit too much with this rich dish.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Spain, BBC Books, 2011)

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This is the  first recipe we’ve tried from Rick Stein’s Spain. Unusually made with white wine, this beef stew is a bit lighter but still rich and full-flavoured. Leftovers are particularly good the next day too. It takes a while to cook but is really easy and there are very few ingredients needed.

Rick says the Spanish serve this with patatas fritas but in an attempt to be not quite so unhealthy we did some roasted slices of potato instead.

Beef in White Wine, Oviedo-Style (Carne gobernada) – to serve 6

  • 1.5kg chuck or blade steak
  • 7 tbsp olive oil
  • 600g onions, chopped into 1cm pieces
  • 10 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 6 fresh bay leaves
  • 300ml dry white wine
  • 300g small carrots, cut into 5 cm lengths
  • salt and pepper
Trim the meat and cut it into bite-sized chunks. Season well with salt and pepper.

Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole and fry the beef in batches until nicely browned. Set aside on a plate.

Add the rest of the olive oil and the onions, garlic, bay leaves and a half tsp of salt to the pan, then cook very gently for about 30 minutes or until the onions are soft and golden.

Add the beef back to the pan, add the wine, bring to the boil and season with another half tsp of salt and some pepper. Cover and leave to simmer gently for 2 hours, stir it now and again.

Add the carrots, cover again and cook for another 30 minutes or until the wine and meat juice have combined to make a rich sauce and meet is really tender. Adjust the seasoning and serve with some potatoes.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Spain, published by

Wine Suggestion: Despite being a stew this dish is not heavy, so avoid big, full-fruited wines when trying to pick something to match this. We went around to O’Briens to find a medium bodied Spanish with not too much oak and really struggled as nothing really matched this brief. Our choice in the end was a Sierra Cantabria Crianza from Rioja which went well, but it would have been better with a Mencia from Bierzo or even a Doa from Portugal where the acidity is naturally a little higher and the use of oak normally much less dominant. You could also search for a joven or roble made from tempranillo and/or garnacha where the  wine is younger, fruitier and made for early drinking – just like the Spanish like it!

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Yes we do know that it’s June but our weather has been much more suitable for stew than salad in the last few weeks – it’s freezing! If we weren’t so stingy we’d turn the heating back on. As central heating in June is against our principles we’ve had to resort to stew instead. It’s kind of a summery stew as it’s full of spinach which is in season now and is also very good for you.

Hopefully we’ve convinced you that it’s ok to eat stew in June.

Spanish chickpea, chorizo & spinach stew – to feed 4

  • 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 celery stick, finely diced
  • few sprigs of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 200g chorizo, diced
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp hot smoked paprika (it’s more common to find the sweet (dulce) one here so just add a bit of chilli powder as well)
  • 2 tins of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1-2 tbsp Sherry vinegar
  • 400g spinach leaves, washed and drained
  1. Heat the oil in a big pan, then gently fry the onion for 3-4 minutes until it starts to soften. Stir in the carrot, celery, thyme and bay leaves. Season and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring now and then. Add the garlic, chorizo, cinnamon and smoked paprika. Fry gently until the vegetables soften and the chorizo starts to crisp up and release its oils.
  2. Stir in the chickpeas, vinegar and 150ml of water, then bring to a simmer for 1-2 minutes until the chickpeas have heated up. Add the spinach, then stir through the chickpeas until it wilts a bit – it will all fit in just be patient!
  3. Season and serve with some crusty bread to mop up juice.
Wine Suggestion: A spanish red would be good – try a Joven (young), fruity Rioja or  do like the Spanish and have a glass of Sherry.
(Original recipe by Thomasina Myers for BBC Good Food)

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Greek Feast – Stifado

This was so easy and super tasty. All the prep can be done before your friends arrive and then it just simmers away and makes the house smell lovely. Serve with steamed potatoes.

Warning: The meat is supposed to be marinated for 24-48 hours – I only realised this on Saturday afternoon so mine was marinated for about 5 hours – still was fab.

Moshari stifado (Veal Stifado but we used beef) – Serves 6

  • Make a marinade from: 120ml olive oil, 250ml dry red wine, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 3 bay leaves, 20 black peppercorns, 10 allspice berries, 4 garlic cloves.
  • Add 1kg stewing beef pieces, turn to coat, cover and let marinate in the refrigerator, turning occasionally, for 1 to 2 days.
  • Blanch 2kg small pearl onions or shallots in boiling water for 1 minute, drain and peel.
  • Heat 250ml olive oil in a large heavy pan over a medium heat. Add onions in batches and cook each batch for 8 – 10 minutes until lightly browned all over. Remove each batch with a slotted spoon.
  • Remove meat from marinade and strain liquid into bowl – reserve the flavourings
  • Add meat to pan used to cook the onion and cook for about 8 minutes until lightly browned all over.
  • Pour in reserved marinade and season with salt & pepper. Add 2 of the bay leaves, 6 of the peppercorns and 6 of the allspice berries.
  • Add 750ml puréed fresh or canned tomatoes (we used pasatta). Cover, bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  • Add the onions and 3 of the reserved garlic cloves. Recover and simmer for 1.5 hours until meat and onions are tender and the sauce is very thick.
  • If the sauce has not reduced enough, remove meat and onions with a slotted spoon and then boil the sauce rapidly. Stir meat and onions back in before serving.

Julie

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