Winter warmer - beef with vegetables

15 June 2017
We had this for lunch yesterday and it was delicious.  Just to set the scene for you, outside was wet, windy and cold and this meal was an aromatic pleasure that carried on for hours.  As soon as it started cooking on the stove top, then braising in the oven, the aroma sent out the message: you'll be having a delicious warming lunch soon.

If you want to make this recipe, when you buy your meat, don't buy good quality steak. It will dry out and be tasteless. You want a cheaper cut, something like round, blade or skirt steak. The meal will cook slowly for a couple of hours so even if there is a bit of gristle or sinew in the steak, which is often present in secondary cuts, it will melt during the cooking process and add to the flavour of the dish.  I used two thin pieces of round steak. The vegetables you choose can be whatever you're growing or what's in the fridge. I had some mushrooms and a leek I wanted to use but I started with what I usually start with - onion, carrot and celery. This is commonly known as a mirepoix, which is the flavour base of most European-style casseroles/stews.  

INGREDIENTS

Meat
one thin slice of round, skirt or blade steak for each person you're serving. This needs to be thinned out with a meat mallet so all the meat is the same thickness.
For the stuffing
Mushrooms
Leek or onion
Garlic
Speck - cut into lard ons, or bacon - cut into small pieces
Mirepoix
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
The sauce
Either beef or chicken stock or water and a stock cube
Salt, pepper, paprika, plain flour, parsley

chopping vegetables
First, prepare vegetables for the stuffing.

Place into a frying pan with a small splash of olive oil and cook until the speck/bacon is crispy and mushrooms and leeks/onions wilt a little.
prepare meat
While the stuffing is cooking, thin all the meat slices.


stuffing meat
Then place a small amount of stuffing on the meat and fold it so you can secure all sides with toothpicks.  The steak isn't rolled, it's folded so it forms a pocket.

cooking beef rolls
Place the stuffed steaks in the same frying pan you cooked the stuffing in and start browning them on both sides.  Don't miss this step because this browning process is where you start building natural flavour in your meal.
When the meat is seared on both sides, place it in a casserole dish suitable for slow cooking in the oven.
When the frying pan is free again, start your mirepoix. Add chopped carrot, celery and onion (the onion went in after I took the photo), salt and pepper to your taste, two teaspoons of paprika, two tablespoons plain/all purpose flour and cook on medium heat till the vegetables and flour develop some brown colour.  Again, this will add natural flavour to your meal.

Add the mirepoix mix to the casserole dish, add whatever vegetables you want to add. In addition to the mirepoix, I used the rest of my mushrooms, some chopped herbs and the leftover stuffing. Pour in about one litre of water with a stock cube, or stock. You could also add some Worcester Sauce for added flavour. 

Heat up the mix on the stove top, put the lid on, then place in a pre-heated oven and cook at 165C/330F for about two hours.

beef stew
About one hour before you intend eating the meal, add some potatoes and greens so it's a one pot meal.  I added potatoes and Brussel sprouts. Test taste to see if you need to add a little more seasoning. 

beef stew
This is a really delicious meal that will fill you up and make you feel well fed. It is good home cooking that is tasty and healthy and you can mix it up depending on what's available in the fridge or garden. Don't forget to remove the toothpicks before serving. 

I hope you try this, especially if you're having a cold spell where you live. If you give it a go, let me know what you and the family think of it.