Another classic, this is a slightly simplified version. For entertaining of any kind, it is great as it can be made the previous day. I love to eat this with Garlic Layered Potatoes (page 106) or Nutmeg Mash (page 120).
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 200 g (7 oz) streaky bacon, cut into 1 cm (1⁄2 in) cubes
- 18 baby onions or shallots, peeled
- 1.5 kg (31⁄4 lb) stewing beef, cut into 4 cm (11⁄2 in) cubes
- 40 g (11⁄2 oz) flour
- 400 ml (14 fl oz) red wine
- 4 cloves of finely chopped garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig thyme
- 2 stalks parsley
- small piece of orange zest
- 450 ml (3⁄4 pt) beef or chicken stock
- 18 small button mushrooms, tossed in a hot pan with a small knob of butter (about 25 g (1 oz)), till golden
- Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/gas 3. In a casserole or a large saucepan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and brown the bacon. Remove and set aside, leaving any fat in the saucepan. Add the onions and cook those, stirring on a high heat till golden, then take out and add to the bacon. Pop the beef into the hot pan in batches, and cook till brown. Season with pepper. Put all the beef back into the pan and scatter in the flour, stirring the meat all the time. Pour in the wine and garlic. Stir again and add the bay, thyme, parsley and orange zest (I sometimes tie these up with string so that I can pull them out easily later). Add the bacon and onions again, and enough stock to come about three-quarters of the way up the ingredients in the pot. Bring up to the boil, put the lid on, and place in a preheated oven for 21⁄2 hours until almost tender. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook the stew for another 30–40 minutes or until the beef is tender. Remove the orange zest and herbs, correct the seasoning, and serve.
- NOTE If making this a day or two in advance, I would add the mushrooms and finish cooking it on the day it is to be eaten, for the best results.