I usually just put whatever I have in to a stew so every time is different but this one was a winner! I served it with potato and spinach purée with a little nutmeg, butter, salt and pepper. The kids LOVED it!! Serve with crusty bread! I then made the leftovers in to a pie (pictured below) which was absolutely spectacular. I highly recommend!
You need a decent heavy casserole dish
1-2 Tbsp dripping or oil if you can't stomach the idea!
800g-1kg braising/casserole beef, trimmed of gristle etc and cut in to bite-sized chunks
a large knob of butter
2 large carrots, roughly chopped
2-3 sticks of celery, chopped
1 large or 2 small leeks, sliced
1 medium onion or two shallots, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp tomato paste/purée
2 heaped tsp sweet smoked paprika
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp smoked sea salt, or regular sea salt
2 Tbsp plain flour
400g tin chopped tomatoes
500mL beef stock
1 whole star anise
2 bay leaves
Preheat oven to 150° C fan/160° C bake
On the hob, heat the dripping/oil in the casserole over a high heat and brown the beef in batches. Remove from the heat In another pan, melt the knob of butter and sautée the vegetables (carrot, celery, leek, onion/shallot, garlic) gently until soft.
Heat 2T butter in the casserole over a medium-low heat, cook the veges first, remove from the pan and set aside, then add 1T oil/dripping, increase the heat, then brown the beef.
Add the veges to the meat pan on a medium heat, then add the tomato puree, paprika, cloves, white pepper and smoked sea salt. Mix through and cook for about 1 minute. Then, sprinkle the flour over, cook until the flour froths a little, moving it around the pan the whole time, then add the tinned tomatoes and beef stock. Add bay leaves and star anise, season with salt and pepper to taste, and bring to the boil.
Remove from the heat and place in to the preheated oven for 2 hours, stirring once or twice.
You really can put whatever you want in a stew. I always have celery, carrots and leeks in my fridge so they end up in everything! But it is absolutely my favourite flavour base for soups, stews and braised lentils etc.