So, happy St Patrick's day to all this blog's readers. And as St Patrick was a Welshman (or at least a Brython [the people from whom we Welsh derived]), I have some small claim to sharing in the celebrations!
Now, on to the recipe:
Irish Beef StewServes: 8
Ingredients1kg (2 lbs) stewing beef (I like my beef on the bone and add the bone pieces to the stew for extra flavour)
25g (1 oz) butter
4 tsp olive oil
225g (1/2 lb) onions, sliced
225g (1/2 lb) celery, cut into 1cm dice
1 large carrot, sliced into 1cm pieces
110g (1/4 lb) parsnip or swede (or a combination), diced
175g (6 1/4 oz) streaky bacon, rinds removed and cut into 1cm dice
2 tbsp seasoned flour
500ml (2 cups) home-made beef stock
1 bouquet garni (must contain bayleaf, leek, thyme and parsley)
225g (1/2 lb) mushrooms, sliced
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
4 tbsp freshly-chopped flat-leaf parsley to garnish
Method:Trim the beef then cut into 3cm (1 in) cubes. Heat half the butter and the olive oil in a pan, add the onion and fry for about 6 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the other vegetables (except the mushrooms) and toss in the oil and butter mix before turning into an oven-proof casserole.
Fry the bacon in a pan until crisp, remove with a slotted spoon and add to the casserole. Toss the meat with the seasoned flour to coat, then add, in batches, to the remaining bacon fat and cook until nicely browned all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to the casserole as you cook the next batch.
When all the meat has been added to the casserole stir the beef stock into the pan you used for frying and use to deglaze the pan. Bring to a boil and pour into the casserole. Add the bouquet garni and adjust the seasoning to taste.
Bring to a simmer, cover the casserole and cook for about 120 minutes, or until the meat is very tender (alternatively transfer to an oven pre-heated to 160ºC [320ºF, Gas Mark 3 and cook for 150 minutes).
Melt the remaining butter in a pan, add the mushrooms and fry until soft and nicely browned. Add to the stew about 20 minutes before you are going to serve.
When done, remove the bouquet garni and if the casserole is too liquid mix in a little roux (a smooth paste of flour and butter). Adjust the seasonings to taste, garnish with the chopped parsley and serve directly from the casserole.
If you want an even more Irish twist to the dish, mix a little wild wood sorrel into the garnish. These wild edible greens have trefoil leaves reminiscent of the Shamrock.
Served accompanied by champ or colcannon.