Hearty Beef Stew with Rich Vegetable Gravy

This is a real winter-warmer! Comforting and rich, wholesome and utterly delicious.  And the great thing is, you prepare it in the morning, then forget all about it until it’s time to eat…and in the meantime your home smells good enough to eat all day!

I particularly like cooking this stew when I know I’m going to be busy or out & about all day, so it’s perfect for those winter Sundays when we go for a long bracing walk in the fresh air in the morning, knowing that the stew is already simmering away in the slow-cooker and we’ll come home to the delicious smell and no cooking to do.

Preparation Time: 30 mins
Cooking Time: 7-8 hrs in a slow-cooker
Serves: 6

Shown here served with fresh steamed broccoli
  • 850g beef shin
  • 120g of mushrooms (use chestnut or, even better, shitake mushrooms for more depth of flavour)…you can also substitute these with a handful of dried porcini mushrooms for extra richness; pre-soak the porcini in lukewarm water for 5 mins or so prior to adding to the stew (no need to give them their full 20 minute soaking as they’ll get plenty of time to soften in the stew, but the initial quick soaking will allow any soil to wash away and settle at the bottom of your soaking bowl)
  • 300g potatoes (you can use more potatoes if you prefer a more carb-based meal…I personally prefer to eat plenty of meat and fewer potatoes in my daily calorie intake)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 500g fresh carrots
  • 1 leek
  • 2tsp olive oil (no need to use extra virgin as that’s best reserved for raw use in salads etc…it’s a waste to use it in cooking, in my opinion)
  • 6tbsp plain flour
  • 1.2l beef stock made to about 1.5-2x concentration advised on stock cubes packet.  Personally, my preference is for Knorr Rich Beef Stockpots…you usually use 1 stockpot per 500ml of water, but in this recipe, I use 4 stockpots in 1.2l of water)
  • salt to taste
  • Chop the meat into rough bite-size chunks
  • If using chestnut or shitake mushrooms, roughly chop or slice these, according to personal preference
  • Peel the potatoes and chop them into bite-size chunks
  • Roughly chop the onion
  • Wash, top & tail the celery sticks, then chop each stick into just 2-3 large chunks (you will need to easily identify these in your stew later)
  • Scrape the carrots clean (if required), top & tail them, then chop them into 3-4cm logs
  • Top & tail the leek, peel off the outer layer & wash carefully, then slice in half lengthways; cut each half into thin slices (about 3-5mm thick)

Place the flour in a large bowl (the trick here is to have an over-sized bowl to allow for good mixing with the meat, so that you can coat the meat thinly and only use a little bit of flour), season with a little bit of salt.

Add the chopped meat and mix well by hand, ensuring each piece of meat is lightly coated with flour

Heat 1 tsp oil in a hot non-stick frying pan, add half the floured meat, taking care to shake off excess flour before you put it in the pan; brown all sides on a high heat

Repeat with 2nd half of the meat with additional 1 tsp olive oil

Place the browned meat & all the vegetables into the slow-cooker

Make up the stock as described in the ingredients list, then add to the ingredients in the slow-cooker and mix well

Cover, turn the slow-cooker onto ‘Auto’ setting and leave for 7-8 hours, stirring once or twice during cooking

When cooked, take out some of the gravy, a few carrot & potato bits, some onion bits and all the celery, put in a blender and blitz until smooth (take care when blending hot liquids…leave the centre cover off the lid to allow steam to escape and cover it with a folded tea-towel when you turn the blender on), then return to the pot…this thickens the gravy to a perfect consistency without need for additional thickeners/flour. 

Serve on its own as a stew/thick soup or with additional vegetables (e.g. steamed broccoli), bread or mashed potatoes…

Gloriously Good!

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