Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mmm Stew ...

It may seem strange to be making stew in the middle of summer but becomes completely understandable when you take into account the fact that I live in Ireland. In the middle of a long exhausting week where you keep getting rained on stew is perfect and what I threw together last night was given a lot of praise so I figured maybe I should share my recipe, as there are many out there who don't know how to put together a simple delicious stew. I had a little bit of meat in the freezer so this is a beef stew, but really it is primarily tomatoes (vitamin C to keep the immune system going!) and butternut squash (vitamin A so we don't all go blind!), with some lentils thrown in for good measure. So it seems like a rich beef stew but really you are sneaking in all sorts of vitamins and mineral and even those strange people that don't like to eat large helpings of vegetables will wolf this down. At home in NZ I would consider using actual pumpkin but here in Galway butternut is the closest I can get - of course being a kiwi I call it a pumpkin anyway so it's all good. So the recipe?

Beef and Butternut Stew

2 tablespoons oil
1 large onion, chopped roughly
200 grams chopped stewing beef
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 butternut squash, diced into 1cm cubes (roughly)
2 cans tomatoes
1/2 cup lentils
2 tablespoons bisto (or gravy powder, or cornflour + beef stock)
1 teaspoon crushed cumin
1 teaspoon crushed turmeric

First, preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Then heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onion until it is soft. Add the beef and brown on all sides, then add the garlic and fry briefly.

In a large casserole dish (at least 2.5 litres capacity) place the butternut, tomatoes and lentils. If the tomatoes are whole, chop them up a bit. Add the beef and onions and mix it up as well as you can. Now half fill one of the empty cans with water and stir in the bisto and spices. Pour this on top of the meat and vegetables.

Put a lid on the casserole dish and place in the oven for about an hour and a half. I actually only cooked it for an hour, then left the dish in the hot oven because I had to go out and it is so not OK to leave the oven on. When I came back two hours later it was perfect, rich, beefy and tomatoey.

So that is my mid-week meal that I expect to feed me for at least another couple of days (that's right, I forgot to mention, this definately makes enough for about four hungry people) and watch this space because Friday is cookie day!

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