• STEP 1

    Season the beef generously and toss in the flour. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large flameproof casserole over a medium-high heat. Cook the beef in two or three batches for about 6-8 mins each, so as not to overcrowd the pan, until browned on all sides. Add a little more oil if it starts to catch. Transfer to a plate.

  • STEP 2

    Reduce the heat. If the pan is dry, add a little more oil. Cook the onions, celery and carrots for 5 mins. Add the bay, thyme and wine (or use water), and simmer for 2-3 mins, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the tomato purée and Worcestershire sauce, and cook for another minute.

  • STEP 3

    If you want to make this in a slow cooker, transfer everything from the pan to the slow cooker. Add the beef along with the stock cube and 400ml water, or pour in the fresh stock, and cook on low for 6-8 hrs until the beef is tender. If cooking on the hob, return the beef to the pan, crumble in the stock cube and add 600ml water or the fresh stock. Cover with a lid and cook over a low heat for 3 hrs, topping up with a splash of water as needed if the stew is reducing quickly.

  • STEP 4

    Remove the lid and cook for another 30 mins to reduce the liquid. If it’s not tender after this time, add a splash more water, cover and cook for another 30 mins, then check it again. Adjust the seasoning if necessary, then enjoy with mash and green veg, or cool and freeze for another day. Will keep chilled for three days or frozen for three months. Defrost in the fridge overnight, then reheat until piping hot.

Recipe tips

Use it up

Beef pie

Tip the stew in to a pie dish and top with puff, rough puff or shortcrust pastry before baking until golden.

Beef ragu

Add 2 chopped garlic cloves with the veg in step 2 and replace 400g stock with a 400g can tomatoes (but also adding the stock cube in step 3). Finally, shred the beef into the sauce using forks. Toss with pappardelle or tagliatelle.

Chilli beef

Add 1 tsp each ground cumin, paprika, chilli powder and ground coriander with the veg in step 2, then add a 400g can black beans along with 1 tbsp chipotle paste 10 mins before the end of cooking. Serve the chilli in jacket potatoes or with rice, topped with soured cream and fresh coriander.

Goes well with


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