As the nights close in and the shadows grow longer. Here is a delicious casserole recipe that will no doubt get you in the mood for those crisp wintery evenings. Is there a better reward after a long day of exploring the Welsh countryside?
- 50g (2oz) plain flour
- 2kg (4lb) shin of beef, cut into 2.5cm (1in)
- chunks and trimmed of any excess fat
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 6 small shallots, peeled and kept whole
- 6 celery sticks, roughly sliced
- 8 carrots, roughly chopped
- 25g (1oz) dried porcini mushrooms
- 600ml (1pt) red wine or stout
- 300ml (½ pt) beef stock
- 6 sprigs of thyme
- 450g (1lb) button mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons redcurrant jelly
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Place the flour in a bowl or a plastic bag with plenty of salt and black pepper and toss the meat in it until well coated.
2 Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole and add the beef. Fry until browned on all sides. You may need to do this in batches as you don’t want to overcrowd the pan; it is important to just brown the beef and not stew it. Remove the meat from the pan using a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the shallots, celery and carrots to the pan and fry for 5 minutes until softened a little.
3 Meanwhile, soak the dried mushrooms in 300ml (½ pt) boiling water until softened, then chop into smaller pieces, reserving the soaking liquid.
4 Return the meat to the pan and add the red wine or stout. Bring to the boil and bubble for 4-5 minutes, until reduced by about a third, then add the stock, the soaked mushrooms and their soaking liquid and the thyme. Bring back to the boil then cover and simmer on a low heat for about 2½ hours or until tender. If preferred, you can place the dish in a preheated oven at 150°C/130°C fan/Gas 3 to cook for the same amount of time.
5 Add the button mushrooms to the casserole with the redcurrant jelly and continue to cook for a further 30 minutes or until the meat is meltingly tender.
6. Serve with a creamy mash and crusty bread to mop up the juice.