Today was Karl's day off work. For a family dinner that was low on effort but high on enjoyment, I decided to do a warming mutton stew, which I could leave in the oven while we got on with all those little jobs that inevitably get left until we're both in the house. I defrosted some organic shoulder of mutton that I bought from Elan Valley Mutton at the farmers' market in Aberystwyth, then cooked it with rosemary and red wine; good, gutsy flavours for good, gutsy meat.
I know the wine quantity is a little vague, but this is always the way I do stews and things; one for me and the rest for the pot. Some chopped bacon, fried with the onions before browning the mutton, would also be nice, if you've got 100g or so in the fridge.
2 onions, halved and sliced
650g mutton, diced
leaves from a large sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
75cl bottle red wine, less one large glassful
Heat some oil (garlic-infused, if you've got it) in a large casserole and fry the onions until soft and tinged with brown. Add the mutton and brown it well, then stir in the rosemary and pour over the red wine. I used a fairly basic 'French Country Red'. Bring to the boil, then cover the pan and transfer to the oven. Cook for 2 hours at 150°c.
The obvious accompaniment to a stew, for us at least, is mashed potatoes. I steamed them for half an hour, then mashed them with a (huge) lump of butter - in for a penny, in for a pound I say - and served huge dollops to slowly soften in the gravy as we ate. We had some carrots too, just steamed and scattered with parsley. No pudding was really necessary after that lot, but the boys like to have something, so they shared an orange, which squirted juice in my eye, the git.