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Beef - braised with Soy & Chinese Five Spice

An easy to cook main course, that after a few minutes work - virtually cooks itself. The dish works very well in a slow cooker, but will definitely need thickening if using this method (see below).

Serve with tagliatelle noddles, rice or mashed potato.

Ingredients

For 4 as a main course:

750g/1½ lbs Stewing Beef, with any fat removed, and cut into largish bite-size chunks
250g/½ lb fresh Shitake Mushrooms, sliced or 50g/2 oz Dried Shitake Mushrooms – cut into slices
1 medium Onion, peeled and chopped
4 medium cloves of Garlic, peeled and chopped
1cm/½ in freshly-grated Ginger Root (there's no need to peel the root)
3 teaspoons (15ml) Chinese Five Spice Powder – from your local deli or supermarket or www.gourmetherbs.co.uk
3 tablespoons (45ml) Dark Brown Sugar
3 tablespoons (45ml) Dark Soy Sauce
4 tablespoons (60ml) Rice Wine or Dry Sherry
200ml/7 fl oz Beef Stock – this can be made with ½ a stock cube
Salt & freshly-ground Black Pepper – to taste
2-4 heaped teaspoons of Cornflour dissolved in a little cold water (depending on how thick you like your sauce)
A little Fresh Coriander to decorate the dish when serving (optional)

Method

1. Heat the oven to 160ºC/325ºF/Gas 3. Or set up a slow cooker.
2. Put all the ingredients in a casserole with a lid and cook for 2½ hours (4 hours in a slow cooker).
3. Remove from the oven season to taste with salt & pepper, and thicken with 2-4 heaped teaspoons
(14-28ml) of cornflour dissolved in a little cold water.
4. Mix in the seasoning and thickening mixture and return to the oven for a further ½ hour (1 hour for a slow cooker).

Serve, perhaps with a sprinkling of chopped coriander.

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