What a crazy week we've had! The weather has swung from the 26 degree days we've been enjoying recently to single figure nights and early mornings so we have had to quickly re-jig wardrobes and sleeping arrangements. Henry and I spent two sleepless nights (felt like two weeks) in hospital after he had another severe asthma attack. Tom spent the week in agony with a toothache before finally giving in and heading to the Dental Hospital and poor Bella just hung in there not really knowing what to expect next. This morning, however, I had a lovely early morning phone call to say that I'm an aunty again so although it's dark and blustery outside I'm feeling very sunny on the inside!
All these goings on have meant not much time for cooking so once the immediate crises passed I headed for the kitchen and whipped up several batches of soup and my favourtite, comforting winter casserole. Perfect for those convalenscing from unexpected hospital visits. If you're feeling a little under the weather you might like to make some too...
Beef Casserole with Gremolata
1 kg chuck steak, diced
2 onions, cut into eighths
2 cloves garlic
3-4 carrots, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons plain flour, seasoned with salt & pepper
3 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 springs fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, leaves only
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 strips orange rind
zest of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, finely crushed
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
Method1. Preheat the oven to 160C.
2. Dust beef in seasoned flour and brown (in batches) in a large frying pan over a medium heat.
3. Remove beef to a plate and add a little more oil. Brown onions, garlic and carrot until onions are translucent and carrots have some clour.
4. Return beef to pan then add tomato paste and cook for a few minutes before adding stock and herbs. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes before transferring to an oven-proof casserole dish.
5. Place dish in oven and bake for 3 hours (give or take a bit). You'll know it's ready when the meat just falls apart and the kitchen is filled a wonderful meaty, herby goodness (sorry vegetarians!).
6. Just before serving make the gremolata by mixing all ingredients together. Sprinkle a little on each serve for a little extra zing.
I usually serve this with polenta or mashed potatoes (sometimes some greens) but a buttered wodge of sourdough wouldn't be a bad companion either.