Thursday, 26 April 2012

Whats on my plate: casserole, quiche

 What else has been on my plate this week?

Well... I have noticed on all of my favourite cooking shows, a surge of slow cooked meals being presented (possibly due to the fact the UK is in recession again?), and this inspired me to make a lovely slow cooked beef casserole.

I was brought up on casseroles, goulashes, stroganoff, basically, slow cooked, cheap cuts of meat that are served with a starch (rice, pasta or potato, or even just fresh bread to dunk) that develop the most extraordinarily deep, complex and warming flavours.

'Wet-dishes' have always been my forte. Both cooking and eating.

These dishes are really simple to make, and really are a dish you can make with whatever you have laying around.

I started with onion, garlic and celery which I sauteed. (Normally carrots would go in as well -a standard soup base.)

While waiting I quickly marinated the 450gm stewing beef in olive oil, Tabasco and oyster sauce.

When the onions go translucent,  I added the beef to the pan to brown.

Once sealed, I added approx 300mL red wine, and about 300mL of boiling water mixed with 2 beef stock cubes. Also added about 5 roughly chopped mushrooms. Reduce the heat right down, and walk away.

There are 2 things to remember with slow cooked foods... 1: the longer the better... serious. A minimum... MINIMUM of 3 hours cooking time.... but six, eight or even twelve hours cooking will make deeper flavours and more succulent meat. 2: taste, taste, taste (although this should be true with all cooking.)

Stir once every 30-45 mins. About 2 hours into the cook, I tasted, added dried mixed herbs, a diced very ripe tomato, 1 diced red pepper and another 4 big mushrooms. And allowed to bubble again.

After around three and a half hours I put on a boil-in-bag rice and chopped some parsley then served.

 The meat was sooooooooooo tender, the flavours were intense and deep. I served with a big blob of natural yoghurt, which I find is really refreshing with a thick rich casserole.

 Also for lunch this week. A sainsburys quiche and easy green salad with mayo. Light and tasty!

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