Sunday, 13 September 2009

Lazin' on a Sunday

With our little mini-summer (at last, is all have to say...) still going strong, today was a day for just chilling out. The children and I had a late breakfast of Eggy Bread ( the Girl Guide in me will never call it French Toast), followed by a lot of messing around in the garden, before I headed inside to get this little beauty into the oven for our supper. Days like today are just made for this sort of dinner; a little bit of none-too-taxing preparation and a long, slow cook which allows for knitting, reading and running round the garden with the kids, while they hold plastic swords aloft and scream "By the power of Grayskull!" at the tops of their voices. Blame my sainted brother's 1980's He-Man collection, or blame my recent LoveFilm rental of He-Man Vol. 1, but they are currently OBSESSED with everything Eternia...

Shin of Beef with Mushrooms & Chestnuts

Phenomenally long recipe, but very little actual work...

2 or 3 tbsp oil
800g shin of beef, cut up to your liking
2 tbsp plain flour

1 onion, peeled and sliced
2 sticks celery, sliced thickly

2 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped

250g mushrooms, halved

240g can vacuum-packed chestnuts

a large glass of red wine

a little tomato purée

500ml beef stock

splash of Worcestershire sauce

few bay leaves

Put the flour and some seasoning into a large plastic bag. Add the beef and toss it around to coat it in the flour. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large casserole and brown the beef in a couple of batches (this keeps the heat up and ensures a good sizzle to really brown the meat). Remove to a plate and set aside.

Add another tbsp of oil if you think the pan need it, then chuck in the onions, celery and garlic. Fry these until soft. Add the rest of the seasoned flour from the bag and mix well. Throw in the mushrooms and chestnuts, then add the wine, stirring up any and all sticky bits from the bottom of the pan. Squidge in a little tomato purée and stir well to mix (this is not so much for flavour as to correct the purple colour brought by the wine). Pour in the stock and the Worcestershire sauce, bung in the bay leaves and bring to boiling point. Cover the casserole pan and transfer it to a 180°c oven for 1 hr 30 minutes. Check it at 1 hr 15 minutes; if it seems to 'wet' for your liking, cook it uncovered for the last quarter of an hour. If not, leave it be for the rest of the cooking time.

Serve from the pan with whatever vegetables you fancy. I personally think that the chestnuts make potatoes
de trop, but you may feel differently. Anyway, sweetcorn is such a favorite with the males of the house as to make it an unavoidable, inevitable inclusion, but I have to say that good old Savoy cabbage is always a favourite, and definitely my first choice here!
Cath xx

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