This recipe is a simple winter warmer that anyone who is old enough to operate a frying pan and use a kitchen knife can make. And if you fall into the younger brackets of that age group, I think you should make it. Here’s why.
Christmas is the time of year that children have oodles of time on their hands, and weary students trundle home for a break from their studies. It’s the time of year that parents break the bank to spoil their loved ones, and also pick back up the full time care of their children, no questions asked. To have one of their own offer to take over the cooking, even for just one meal, would be a huge help to them and greatly appreciated.
All you will need to make this delicious and hearty stew (beyond the ingredients) is a frying pan, a knife and a slow cooker, or an ovenproof lidded saucepan. The measurements below are for a slow cooked meal. If you don’t have access to a slow cooker, reduce the cooking time to two hours, and add at least an extra litre of water.
Beef and Apple Stew
- 400g stewing beef (shin is excellent in this dish, but any tougher cut will work fine)
- 1 onion
- 3 large carrots
- 1 eating apple
- ½ tbsp mixed herbs or a bouquet garni
- 2 stock cubes (beef or vegetable)
- 500ml cider
- 1tbsp cornflour
If your beef isn’t already in bitesize chunks, cut it up. Then, brown it in a frying pan, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. You want nice caramel colouration on all sides of the pieces. Once browned, pop the cooked beef into the pot of your slow cooker.
Core the apple, and chop it and the other veg into bite size pieces. Add them to the pot and mix them into the beef pieces.
Sprinkle over the herbs, crumble in the stock cubes and add plenty of salt and pepper.
Pour over the cider and mix the ingredients together. This may seem like a rather small amount of liquid, but so long as the liquid is about half as deep as the whole mixture, you should be fine.
Pop the lid on the slow cooker and turn it on to ‘high’. Cook for 3 hours.
Mix the cornflour with a drizzle of water until a paste is formed. Add this to your stew and mix through thoroughly. Recover the pot and cook for a further two hours. (It bears mentioning that this would be very early to add a thickener like cornflour in most recipes, but in slowcooking so little moisture is lost that its fine to add the flour now. It won’t thicken the sauce too much- it’ll just help it become more gravy-like.)
Serve with mashed potatoes, braised leeks and any other veg you fancy.
This recipe is pretty flexible- it would work very well with pork or rose veal, and you can replace the cider with beer or water if you like. You can also feel free to add other vegetables, or reduce the beef and up the veg content.
The final product, after barely half an hour of actual labour, is aromatic and flavoursome. The cider gives tart fruitiness, while the beef makes it intensely savoury and satisfying. The apple will likely melt away to thicken the gravy, leave the inoffensive peel to blend in with the other veg. If you want to be pedantic and peel your apples, then do, but it really isnt necesscary.
So there you have it- an incredibly easy and tasty meal to warm your cockles this winter.