Bonfire Beef Stew with Jacket Potatoes  

The weather’s turning colder, the night’s are drawing in and I don’t know about you but this time of year makes me crave those proper classic winter dishes and a beef stew has to be the ultimate one. Winter for me is all about comfort food. Stews, pies and curries are the best dinners for giving you a great big hug and when you come in from the cold. My favourite way to serve a stew is with a piping hot jacket potato.
The beauty of a beef stew is that you can spend as little as 20 minutes or so prepping it, then pop it in the oven for a few hours and all the hard work is done for you. It’s also a really great recipe for batch cooking since it can be turned into so many different things. I like to put my leftovers into individual dishes, top with mashed potato or ready rolled pastry, pop them into the freezer and you’ve got a few pies that you can de-frost and cook up on lazier or more time-strapped evenings.
If you’re having a bonfire party this weekend, double up this recipe to cook a big batch (or multiply for however many you need). When you’re finished watching the fireworks let everyone help themselves to a lovely warm bowl and they’ll be begging you to host bonfire night again next year.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 sprig fresh rosemary
500g braising steak, diced into chunks
1 small glass red wine
1 carrot, halved and sliced
1 small onion, roughly diced
1 tsp ground mace
2 tbsp gluten free flour
1 rich beef stock pot or stock cube
1 litre of boiling water
100g spring greens, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper
4 large baking potatoes
4 knobs butter
  1. Preheat oven to 150ºC.
  2. In a large casserole dish, heat the vegetable oil on a medium-high heat. Add the rosemary and the steak and cook until browned on all sides. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Throw in the red wine and allow to cook off for around five minutes. Lower the temperature and throw in the carrots, onion and mace. Continue to cook until vegetables have softened.
  4. Sprinkle over the flour and mix throughly ensuring all the ingredients get a good coating.
  5. Add the stock pot or stock cube and slowly pour in the water. Mix thoroughly and ensure that the stock pot/cube is fully broken down and dissolved.
  6. Season generously and add the greens to the pan.
  7. Cover and place in the oven.
  8. Pierce the potatoes or place on a skewer and place in the oven along side your casserole.
  9. Bake for 90 minutes. I like to set a timer to check on it every 30-40 minutes or so to give the stew a stir and make sure it’s not drying out or sticking.
  10. Remove casserole from the oven. Season once more with salt and pepper to taste.
  11. If your potatoes aren’t quite done (This will really depend on the size of them) then turn the heat up to 200ºC and cook for a further 20 minutes. Meanwhile leave the lid on your casserole dish to keep the stew warm.
  12. To plate up your potatoes slice a cross half way down the potato and pinch the quarters to push up some of the lovely soft and fluffy filling. Top with a generous ladleful of beef stew.

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