Beef and Vegetable Casserole
This is something that has evolved over the years in my kitchen, ingredients added, ingredients omitted, but when it comes down to it, a good casserole can have whatever you like in there. The secret is to create a flavour base, something that I think many people don't do. You will be able to taste the difference and wonder why I never did this before! All those bits that look like burnt pieces on the bottom of your pot, they hold all the flavour that gets intensified with slow cooking, so don't leave them out when it comes to placing the pot in the over or slow cooker.
3 tbsp Olive Oil
1 medium Onion, halved and sliced
1 clove of Garlic, crushed
600 grams Stewing Steak (chuck, skirt, round), cubed
2 tbsp Plain Flour
1 cup Beef Stock
400 gram tin of Tomatoes
1 large Potato, cubed
1 stalk of Celery, sliced
2 large Mushrooms, sliced
1 large Carrot, chopped
2 Bay Leaves
Chopped Fresh Parsley
Pre heat your oven to 160c.*
Toss the steak in the flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a heavy bottomed cast iron casserole pot on medium, add the onion and garlic and cook until soft. Remove to a separate bowl and turn up the heat.
Add 1 tbsp of oil to the casserole pot and brown the meat. Don't put it all in at once, you don't want it to boil. Leave the meat to get a nice caramelize and turn it over and make sure it is all browned nicely. Place it into the dish containing the onions (or a separate one again, depends how fond you are of washing dishes) and continue with the remaining meat until all done.
Once this is done, add the cup of beef stock to the casserole pot and bring to the boil, all the while stirring to dissolve the crusty bits on the bottom of the pot. This is where you get that great flavour base from, so don't skip this step.
Return the onions and meat to the pot along with the juices, then add the tomatoes, carrots, celery, potato, mushrooms, thyme and bay leaves and give it a stir. Now pour over just enough water (or stock if you'd like an even richer taste) to cover the ingredients in the pot and bring it to the boil.
Place it in the pre heated oven for 1 1/2 - 2 hours until the meat is tender. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley.
You can serve this on it's own with some nice crusty bread, or with some rice on the side.
*tip - You can cook this in your slow cooker, but I recommend using a good saucepan to do all the steps and transfer it to the slow cooker to get that awesome flavour base.