BEEF CASSEROLE WITH JUNIPER & SMOKEY BACON

BEEF CASSEROLE WITH JUNIPER & SMOKEY BACON

SERVES 8-10

TAKES: 30 MINS PREPRATION TIME,
1 TO 2 HOURS COOKING

Description

This rich, sweet and smokey beef casserole benefits from long, slow cooking. For the cooking, choose a wine you'll enjoy drinking as you'll only need half a bottle for the casserole. If you enjoy game, substitute the beef for diced haunch or shoulder of venison. Don't be daunted by the quantity, you won't be sorry when you have your dinner set for the next 3 days. Alternatively, see it as an excuse for a casual dinner party.

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 150C

2. On the hob, heat the olive oil and butter in a large, lidded casserole dish. Add the onions and cook until softened, but not browned.

3. Add the garlic, mushrooms, herbs, and juniper and cook for a further minute.

4. In a frying pan, brown the bacon, and then the beef, a handful at a time and add to the casserole. When all the meat is browned, add the red wine, water, stock cubes, redcurrant jelly and salt and pepper.

5. Bring to the boil and stir well. Put the lid on the casserole and place in the middle of the oven - cook for 90 minutes.

6. Remove from the oven. Make a paste with the cornflour and two tablespoons of water. Add as much of the paste to the casserole as is needed to thicken the sauce - add a little at a time if you are not sure how much you will need.

7. Transfer the casserole to the hob, and, on a low heat, cook until the gravy has thickened - this will take about five minutes.

8. Serve with mashed potatoes and seasonal greens, or pappardelle.

Ingredients

• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 25g butter
• 2 onions, diced
• 4 garlic cloves, crushed
• 500g chestnut mushrooms, halved
• 6 sprigs rosemary or thyme
• 5 juniper berries, crushed
• 5 rashers smoked bacon, chopped
• 2.5kg diced chuck steak or other braising steak
• ½ bottle red wine -  ideally with medium to full body, spice and black fruit
• 400ml water
• 2 beef stock cubes, crumbled
• 3 tbsp Ginger Pig redcurrant jelly
• salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 50g/2oz cornflour

To serve
• mashed potatoes and seasonal greens like kale or broccoli
• or a wide ribbon pasta like pappardelle