I still feel the urge to cook a ‘proper’ Sunday lunch, even though a full on roast dinner seems a bit at odds with the time of year (although it seems to have done nothing but rain recently). This tomato-based braised beef feels a bit lighter than my normal beef stew and dumplings, especially with the addition of some spring greens just before the end of cooking.
This is an excellent ‘clear the fridge out at the end of the week’ stew as you can add in any old leftover veg like carrots, mushrooms, etc. I would add sliced red peppers to this, but sadly I’m outvoted by my family. If yours have better taste, feel free to add them.
So you’ll need:
1 onion, chopped
About 1/2 kilo braising or stewing steak, trimmed of any excess fat and sinew
3 tbsp plain flour, well seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
Large glass red wine
Tin of chopped tomatoes
500ml beef stock (cube is fine)
Tin of borlotti beans, rinsed and drained
Bag of spring greens
To make the braised beef:
Heat up a heavy casserole dish, then gently fry the onions until translucent. Keep them to one side and heat the pan up again.
Season the flour, and then toss the beef cubes around in it until they’re coated. Fry them a few at a time until they’re really nice and caramelised. Don’t overcrowd the pan. You might need to add a bit more oil between batches.
When you’ve done the last few pieces, slosh in the glass of wine and as it bubbles, use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the lovely crusty bits at the bottom of the pan. If it bubbles away too quickly, add a bit of stock:
Now, add back the beef and onions, the stock (about 500ml should do it) and the tinned tomatoes. Cover the stew and pop it in the oven for about an hour at 160 degrees/gas 3:
About five minutes before serving, stir in the drained, rinsed beans, and a couple of handfuls of sliced spring greens. Serve with crusty bread, over pasta, or with steamed, buttered Jersey Royal potatoes, which are at their best right about now.
The leftovers are even nicer the next day, stirred through pasta, or made into a soup with more stock.