beef casserole

I remember well the night Pete and I cooked this, and the retelling of it caused much entertainment among the denizens of the gourmet conference on CIX.

I was amused to note that the person who plagiarised it actually had "ooking" instead of "cooking" - is there a librarian in the house?

brown the Dexter in an ancient and well loved Le Creuset cast iron casserole (bought about 25 years ago for (boggle) about £40, I think it was called a "Mama"), and remove to a bowl. Get your other half to roughly chop lots of onions, then lightly saute them (not the OH) in the meat juices (aided and abetted by some decent olive oil. A glass of wine (for the cook) wouldn't go amiss at this point).

then persuade the OH to chop several cloves of garlic ("lots" is about right), and when he's done that, pass him a big bag of mushrooms to slice. Make sure he keeps the garlic separate from the mushrooms. A beer for the OH works well at this point.

slice a few carrots (or several - whatever you've got) while he's doing that, and find another big bowl for the veg. Tip the sliced carrots and the mushrooms into the separate bowl. Look at the cast iron casserole dish, mentally attempt to fit the meat and veg in said dish, and find a second dish. Put this casserole dish to one side (you never know - you might not need it ..) Mild panic is optional at this point.

keep sauteing the onions, in the hope they'll reduce; they won't, but it'll buy you time (you can use this time to pour another glass of wine, if you like). When you realise that it won't help, volume-wise, remove them to the bowl containing the carrots and mushrooms (remember this?).

throw the finely chopped garlic into the original casserole, and add some more decent olive oil. Soften the garlic in the oil, and remove to the veggy bowl. Then deglaze the casserole dish with (some) red wine. Fling in some cooking brandy for good measure, and bring to the boil. Don't sniff the liquid now - you'll get a blast of cheap brandy fumes up your nose; fine if you've got sinus trouble, but otherwise not good. When you've recovered from sniffing it (you _will_ sniff it - we *know* you will), let it reduce, and pour into a jug.

split the meat between the two casserole containers, stir the contents of the veggy bowl and layer on top of the meat, then sprinkle some sea salt and coarse ground black pepper on the resulting mess. Look at the jug, and add some water. Then split the contents of the jug between the two dishes. Bring the first one to the boil, add a bouquet garni, and put in the oven (preheated (if that's the word) to Gas Mark 1 - this is going to cook overnight). Then bring the second one to the boil, realise that it needs more liquid, cos it's a different shape, and lob some vegetable stock in.

squeeze the second dish into the oven beside the first one. Take it out, and add the bouquet garni. Return to oven.

now, suffer for several hours until it's done its first cooking. Tomorrow, we'll leave it to stand for at least 8 hours, then reheat it.

a handy tip - eat *before* you do this. You won't be able to touch a thing while it's cooking. I expect beef casserole is quite nice for breakfast ...

tagged with

posted by ramtops on 18 Feb 06 - 12354 views


recipes from ramtops