This recipe is from one of my favourite books, ‘The World’s Best Recipes’ by Marvin Small, published in 1955. He says about this dish, ‘A cold Winter’s night can be brightened in many ways, but rarely in a more earthy and satisfying manner as this’. He recommends that the stew be served with boiled rice. I pressed my rice into some little moulds lined with greased cling film, which looked attractive, but you may not wish to bother with such fuss for a cosy family supper. Carrots, especially home grown ones, compliment this dish perfectly!
Makes 6 servings
2 ounces butter
2 pounds stewing beef (cut into 1½ to 2 inch cubes)
1 tbsp flour
Salt and pepper
¾ pint red wine
½ pound small onions
¼ pound mushrooms
1 garlic clove
Bouquet garni of parsley, thyme and bay leaf
¼ pint Madeira
Liqueur glass of brandy
- In an iron casserole, melt the butter until it bubbles. Brown the meat until slightly brown and sealed. Remove the meat and add the flour to the pan and make a roux brun .Stir well then slowly add the wine and salt and pepper.
- Slice onions, carrot, mushrooms, garlic and shallots. Brown ¾ of the onions in another pan in some butter.
- Return the meat to the casserole; add the sliced vegetables, the browned onions and bouquet garni. Add Madeira (if you have some) and enough water to bring the liquid level with the meat.
- Put the lid on this poetic ensemble and allow it to simmer, very gently for 3-4 hours, until the meat is tender. Half an hour before serving add the brandy.