In New Zealand supermarkets I’ve been interested to see that there are stickers on all the pre-packed meat, saying whether that particular cut is good for grilling or stewing. I have always loved stews and casseroles – ways of getting the best from the cheap cuts – but never been very clear on which bits of the animals are the best for this type of cooking.
NZ supermarkets take all the guesswork out of this kind of shopping for which I have been devoutly grateful and, as a result, I’ve been having lots of fun experimenting with all kinds of cheap meats. I’ve had a lot of success with lamb dishes so far but the other night was the first time I’ve tried cooking beef.
I had picked up a copy of American magazine Bon Appétit earlier in the day and found a recipe for a type of spicy beef stew. Although I scaled the quantities of the spices and orange down in my original dish they were nearly too overwhelming so in this recipe I’ve reduced them a little more. I think the main problem was the fact that I’ve no zester and had to use a vegetable peeler on the orange. Even a small amount of white pith results in bitterness as I learned to my cost! It didn’t stop the Boyfriend and myself from enjoying it though…
Beef and Orange Stew
Stewing beef – 500g, cubed
Olive oil – 2 tablespoons
Plain flour – 3 tablespoons
Water – 750mls
Red wine – 250mls
Carrots – 2, peeled and cut into 1cm rounds
Onions – 2 medium, chopped
Whole cloves – 5
Bay leaves – 2, chopped
Garlic cloves – 2
Fresh thyme – 1 bunch
Orange zest – 1 teaspoon
Chopped canned tomatoes – 1 x 400g
Preheat oven to 325°F. Heat oil in large frying pan. Sprinkle both sides of the meat with flour and brown it, in a couple of batches, in the hot pan. Place in casserole dish.
Fry onions and garlic in pan until beginning to soften then deglaze with the water. Pour contents of pan over the meat. Add the wine, onions, cloves, bay leaves, garlic, thyme, orange zest and tin of tomatoes.
Place casserole in the oven and cook for 1½ – 2 hours, until meat is tender. Serve with lots of fresh, crusty bread.