Friday, 27 November 2009

The 21st Century Housewife's© Leek, Beef and Beer Stew with Carrot and Parsnip Mash

This is a gorgeous, warming stew for a blustery winter’s evening. The carrot and parsnip mash gives a lovely hit of color alongside the stew, and it’s a great way to get your antioxidants this time of year.

This recipe will serve four, but don’t worry if there are only two of you, the leftovers taste lovely if you cool them quickly, store in the fridge and re-heat thoroughly the next day!

For the stew:-
2 tablespoons butter
3 or 4 leeks, washed and sliced in thin slices
about 500 grams of chuck steak, cut in chunks
275 ml bottle lager beer (I use Coors light)
250 ml beef stock (ready-made or from a cube is fine)
1 bay leaf
1 generous spoonful of red pesto or tomato paste (tomato puree in the UK)
150 grams orzo

For the mash:-
3 – 4 carrots, washed, peeled and cut in chunks
3 parsnips, washed, peeled and cut in chunks
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350℉ or 170℃.

In a large stove top to oven safe pan /casserole dish with a lid (I use a large shallow one by Le Creuset but a deeper one will work just as well), melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leaks and fry for a few minutes until they are beginning to soften. Stir in the beef and cook until browned, stirring pretty much constantly.

Pour in the lager and the beef stock. Bring the mixture to the boil. Stir in the bay leaf and the red pesto or tomato paste.

Put the lid on the casserole and carefully put in the oven. Cook for an hour and fifteen minutes, stirring once after about forty minutes. If it looks like it is cooking too quickly, lower the heat a bit.

When there are about ten minutes left to go, steam the carrots and parsnips on the stove-top until tender. Drain and mash with the butter and add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside to keep warm, or place in a covered casserole dish in a low oven.

Remove the stew from the oven and place the casserole on a heat-proof surface. Add the orzo and stir. There should still be a fair amount of liquid in the stew, but if not, add a bit of boiling water just so the orzo has liquid to absorb. Stir again.

Cover the casserole and return to the oven for ten minutes. Remove once again and check the liquid level. If it has all been absorbed, add a tiny bit more boiling water (only a little!). Return the casserole the oven for five to ten minutes more. At this point, the orzo should be tender and most of the liquid should be absorbed.

Serve the stew and mash with some warmed crusty rolls.

By the way, it is easy to make vegetable mashes and they are a healthy alternative to mashed potatoes served with just about anything. As well as carrot and parsnip mash, you could try parsnip and turnip (swede in the UK) or butternut squash and sweet potato. Just steam the vegetables and mash with butter and seasoning as above.