Mouth watering slow-cooked beef

This slow-cooked French stew is a tantalising combination of rich, warming flavours–perfect for a midwinter dinner party. Begin by sautéing the onions, carrots and garlic with a sprinkling of sugar to caramelise them, bringing out optimal flavour. Easy to prepare and guaranteed to impress.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 1 hour 20 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 375g well-trimmed stewing beef, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 3 slices low-fat bacon, coarsely chopped
  • 250g baby onions
  • 3 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 375g mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 125ml dry red wine or chicken stock
  • ¾ teaspoon fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Recipe method        

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Spray a non-stick flameproof casserole dish with cooking oil. Add the beef and cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a plate and set aside.

2. Add the bacon, onions, carrots and garlic to the pan. Sprinkle with the sugar and cook for 7 minutes, or until the onions are golden brown. Add the mushrooms and cook for 4 minutes, or until tender.

3. Return the beef (and any accumulated juices) to the pan. Sprinkle with the flour and cook, stirring, until the flour has been absorbed, for about 3 minutes.

4. Add the wine or stock to the pan and bring to the boil. Add 180ml water, the thyme and pepper to the pan and return to the boil. Cover, transfer to the oven and bake for about 1 hour, or until the meat is tender. Serve sprinkled with the parsley.