What is the number one thing that puts you off home cooking (on a school night, at least)? For me, the answer is prep time. All that chopping and peeling can take an age, before you even get your ingredients into a pot on the stove.
But, as we often remind our students, "smart" preparation is the key to success. This two-hour stew recipe is both yummy and quick, if you prepare the veggies in advance. Either store them in a zip-locked bag or plastic container in the refrigerator for a couple of days, or put them into the freezer; there's no need to thaw prior to use.
3 onions, peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed (or sliced, if you prefer)
400/450g braising steak, cubed
2 red peppers, chopped into chunks
1 (or 2, depending on size) courgette, chopped into small chunks
1 tin chopped tomatoes
About 1/2 pint red wine or stock (I use a miniature bottle of wine)
1/2 a beef stock cube
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp mixed herbs
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C (fan)/gas4.
- Add a scant amount of oil to a flame- and oven-proof casserole dish with a lid, then sauté the onions and garlic until they begin to glisten (this should take about five minutes).
- Add the beef and brown.
- Tip in the tinned tomatoes, the wine or stock, the herbs and the tomatoes purée. Season with salt and pepper, according to taste. Bring to the boil.
- Cover the dish and place it in the oven for one and a half hours.
- Remove the stew from the oven and stir. Crumble in the stock cube and add in your vegetables. Stir again, cover and return the dish to the oven for another 35 minutes or so; you want the vegetables to be tender.
- Serve with either mashed potatoes or pasta (conchiglie or a similar shape is best for this, I think).
Siobhan Blunden-Currie is a head of department in a secondary school. She will be providing recipes every Friday for Tes