The New Year has begun with the promise of new ventures, beginnings and hopefully, successes in those ventures. After the rich excesses of Christmas I find it’s nice to have something a little simpler for New Year. I usually go for a casserole of some sorts and this year I had a lovely spiced beef middle eastern inspired casserole which I’d like to share with you.
500g diced beef
2 sticks celery, diced
1 large carrot, diced
400ml beef stock
1 glass sherry or red wine
2 generous spoons of cranberry sauce or jelly
1 stick cinnamon
2 tspn Ras el Hanout
2 tspn Lebanese 7 spice
good pinch chilli flakes
200mg puy lentils
Flour & knob of butter to thicken sauce
Start by gently browning the shallots, celery & carrot add the stock, then the meat, leave to simmer for about 10 minutes. Over the years I’ve found that if you brown your beef before adding the stock it can be quite hard, whereas if you add your beef straight into the stock and allow to simmer, the gentler produces a softer meat. Add the lentils, wine or sherry, if you’re using, and other ingredients.
Leave these to bubble away on the back part of your stove on the lowest heat for 40 minutes. About 10 minutes before the end of cooking add the flour and butter into the sauce, if you rub the flour and butter together as if you were making shortcrust pastry, it doesn’t clump together and makes a really smooth sauce. Stir really well and serve with mashed potatoes with chives. I think this is a really good, comforting bowl of food that would take the chill off the cold weather and give a warm glow inside without too many calories.
I’d like to end this post by wishing all my followers a peaceful, prosperous New Year