Time to reintroduce one of my blogging memes - haute cuisine for gamers. I made this for myself yesterday, and polished off the leftovers tonight. It's fast becoming one of my favourite dishes. My almost-Mother-in-Law would be proud.
To (generously!) serve two people, you will need:
One casserole dish (preferably Le Creuset, for added French authenticity, but ceramic will do, provided it can still be used on the hob)
400g of beef (the best cut you can afford), cut into 2cm dice
400g of potatoes (a firm fleshed variety like Maris Piper), peeled and cut in half
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 parsnips, peeled and sliced
1 large courgette, thickly sliced
1 red onion, thickly sliced
4 large, flat mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 large glass of red wine (a robust grape, such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon)
Salt and pepper
Garlic (either a good measure of garlic paste or 2 decent sized cloves)
Chilli powder (but not much!)
What to do:
Prepare the meat and vegetables as described above. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade. Seal the beef using a high heat in the pan, with the garlic and a little oil (if the beef is especially lean), seasoning well with salt and pepper. Add the onion and mushrooms, and fry off for a couple of minutes until they start to brown. Then add the carrots and parsnips, for a further couple of minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Add the courgette and let the vegetables fry/stream for another minute or two. Add the wine to deglaze the pan, and let any caramelised flavours seep back into the meat. Add the chopped tomatoes and herbs, plus the chilli powder (no more than 1 teaspoon), letting the liquid come to a simmer before finally adding the potatoes, evenly stacking them around the casserole dish. Cover the dish to seal in all the moisture and the flavour, and then put it in the oven, leaving it to cook for an hour.
Serve accompanied with a nice glass of red wine.