Stewed Beef with Mashed Potato and Celeriac and Watercress
Happily, I'm now at an age when I seldom need to refer to texts for stalwart dishes. I rely on a combination of knowledge accrued from reading the likes of Elizabeth David and Nigel Slater as well as from eating with my parents and siblings, coupled with a general feel for what I'm trying to achieve. Occasionally I'll have to cross-reference cooking times and methodology but not often. The tail end of Winter is often the worst part. Will it never end? At such a time I always take comfort in warming, slowly-cooked dishes such as this. Volumes here are generous so there is a good chance you'll have enough stew left over to enjoy it again with some plain pasta – as we were and did.
Ingredients: (Serves 4 adults)
1kg of Quite Lean Braising Steak Cut to a Medium Dice
75g of Smoked Pork Lardons
1 x 75cl bottle of Full-bodied Red Wine
6 - 8 Small Onions Peeled and Halved
6 - 8 Medium-sized Carrots
6 Cloves of Garlic Peeled and Halved
6 Medium-sized Potatoes
Half a Celeriac Peeled and Cut into Medium Dice
Flat Leaf Parsley – Washed and Chopped
Watercress x 80g – Washed and Drained
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees C. (fan) or 190 degrees C. (regular).
Coat the diced steak in a light dusting of plain flower and brown the meat quite rapidly in olive oil in a frying pan (in batches if necessary) on quite a high heat then place it in a heavy casserole dish. Fry off the lardons in the same frying pan and put them in the casserole too.
Add the whole bottle of red wine to the casserole dish, all of the onions and (peeled and roughly sliced) carrots and garlic. Season well with salt and pepper and place the pan in the oven with a lid on it.
Leave that to cook for at least 2 hours – you can check it and stir it at half-time but it should be fine if the lid is secure.
While the stew is cooking peel and roughly chop the potatoes and boil them in salted water for 20 minutes.
Boil the celeriac separately in salted water for 20 minutes and then drain it well and whisk it in a food processor until creamy and smooth.
Drain the potatoes then add the whisked celeriac to them and mash both together well with a knob of butter and tablespoon of cream and season with salt and pepper. Keep the dish warm in a low oven with a lid on.
Before serving the stew I thicken it with a dessert spoon of the mash stirred in well.
Serve the stew on top of the mash, topped with the parsley, in warm, shallow bowls with a side of lightly-dressed watercress for colour and texture.