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Beef Casserole Recipe

A British version of Boeuf Bourguignonne, but containing root vegetables, so more suited to winter months.

However, the turnips (which might be hard to find in the summer) can be left out if necessary and a few more carrots and mushrooms used in their stead - although they do add a homemade character to the dish.

You can use any beef stewing cut, but the 'shin' stipulated, gives a marvellous texture to the finished dish and is worth seeking out at your butchers, even if he needs a little notice. Flat mushrooms have much more flavour than cup or button varieties and will also give the casserole a nice dark colour.

It's ideal served with Mashed Potatoes, to soak up the juices.

Ingredients

For 4 generous helpings:

60ml/ 4 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 kilo/ generous 2 lbs Shin of Beef (see above) - cut into 3cm/ 1¼ in cubes (and keeping the jelly-like sinew)
1 medium Onion, peeled and chopped
4 medium or 2 large Carrots, peeled and cut into thick batons
8 small Turnips, peeled and left whole
120gr/ 4 oz Flat Mushrooms, cut into quarters
4 Celery Stalks, cut into 3cm/ 1¼ in lengths
8 Button Onions, peeled - but with the root cluster left on to hold the onion together
2 medium cloves of Garlic, peeled and chopped
30ml/ 2 tablespoons Plain White Flour
15ml/ 1 tablespoon Tomato Purée
550ml/ 1 pint Beef Stock - made with a stock cube if necessary
300ml/ ½ pint Red Wine
1 Bay Leaf
2ml/ ½ teaspoon Dried Mixed Herbs, or for a real lift Herbes de Provence from www.gourmetherbs.co.uk (http://www.gourmetherbs.co.uk)
Salt and freshly-ground Black Pepper to taste
Equipment needed: A large frying pan. An ovenproof casserole, with a close-fitting lid.

Method

1. Heat half the oil in frying pan over a medium heat. When it starts to sizzle, add the beef cubes and turn them over continuously so they brown on all sides. When this has been achieved, transfer them, and their juices, to the ovenproof casserole.

2. Lower the heat, add the remaining oil, then add the chopped onions and 'sweat' them slowly until they are translucent, but not brown.

3. Add the carrots, turnips, button onions,mushroom pieces and celery. Increase the heat to medium, and fry these until they start to colour.

4. Lower the heat again and add the garlic (if you add it earlier if will quickly brown and go bitter), followed by the tomato purée and the flour. Carefully mix these in, while slowly adding the wine and stock - stirring with a wooden spoon as you do, to eliminate any lumps.

5. When the sauce has thickened, add it with the vegetables to the casserole.

6. Add the bay leaf and mixed or Provence herbs.

7. Cover the casserole with a lid and cook it in a pre-heated oven Gas 2 150ºC/300ºF for 2-3 hours (the latter if you want the meat to have that 'melt in the mouth' texture).

Serve. Any left, will taste even better the next day.

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