A Five Ingredient Casserole...
...that takes just five minutes to prepare!
If you are feeling stretched for time and looking to prepare something wholesome and comforting to feed either a family or to stock up your freezer, this is the recipe for you! Beef stew - just like mum used to make! Or in this case of this chef, it's the recipe my mum's mum used to make - three generations of simple home cooking in one dish!
This is some serious comfort food of the highest order and also a perfect bit of batch cooking. It'll take five minutes to chop your veg, then you just need to bung it in a low oven and forget about it for around 3-4 hours. It's that simple and for next to no effort, you'll end up with 5-6 portions of wonderful, old-fashioned, nutritious beef stew.
There is nothing to stop you adding other ingredients to customise this recipe to suit your tastes and we'll come to that shortly - but nothing else beyond beef, onions, celery, carrots and beef stock (and a little salt and pepper) is required to make a delicious and hearty stew.
As it happens, it's a great low-carb dish too - perfect for anyone following that particular diet, either for weight loss or medical reasons. As ever, combine with Lo-Dough in one form or another (more of that later) to keep the carbs and calories down and to boost your fibre intake.
Check out the simple steps below to make this magical stew...
1. You'll need 900g of stewing steak (shin or chuck), 2 onions, 2 sticks of celery, a small handful (or two large) carrots and a couple of stock cubes/pots, plus a little salt and pepper.
2. Chop up the onions, celery and carrots. Keep the carrots chunky. At this stage, feel free to add any other root veg you have at home - swedes, parsnips, celeriac, turnips etc will all work well.
3. Throw all the ingredients in a casserole dish and top up with water. Most recipes would suggest browning the meat and softening the veg prior to this stage. That would slightly intensify the flavour and colour of the final dish, but here we are going for the simplest possible preparation. If you add extra water than you think is necessary at this point, you'll be rewarded with a bonus meal later on...
4. This is the stage where you can add any other flavour additions you might have in the larder (though as mentioned above, none are strictly necessary). You could stir in some mustard, add some chorizo, add some spices or drop in a splash of wine or beer. We had a little thyme and dried bay leaf in the cupboard so made a simple 'bouquet garni' to sit in the stew - just don't forget to remove it once cooked!
Place the casserole in a low oven (approx 150-160°C) and cook gently for anywhere between 3-4 hours. Check to make sure the meat is tender before serving.
5. At this stage, the stew is completely ready to serve (just check for seasoning) and will be delicious, but the sauce might be a little thin for your tastes. Texturally it will currently resemble a broth - similar to the classic Welsh lamb stew 'Cawl'. If you want to thicken your gravy at all, we recommend cornflour as it is gluten-free. Let down a good tablespoon of the cornflour with a little water and stir into the stew. Return to the oven for ten minutes to cook the cornflour out and thicken a little.
If you are on a strict low-carb diet, your thickener of choice is more likely to be xantham gum. This will work perfectly too!
6. A simple serving suggestion for a balanced low-carb meal would be greens, a little pickled cabbage and some simple buttered Lo-Dough.
7. After eating 2 portions for dinner, we were left with three portions for the freezer. Remember that extra water we added at the start? Well, that helped to create enough additional sauce that it could serve 2 people with a simple broth for lunch the next day. Think Oxtail soup - packed with all the goodness and flavour of the meat and the vegetables.
Per Portion of beef casserole/stew
Calories: 273 kcal
Serving this stew with buttered Lo-Dough is the absolute simplest serving suggestion we can think of, but here are a few others: