You’ll glad you took time out at lunchtime to prep this amazing stew for dinner as the scent fills your home all afternoon

There is something so exciting about snow in the weather forecast. What’s rare is wonderful, and you’re never too old for that giddy feeling that hits when you spot snowflakes dancing outside your window.

Snow feels like an occasion in itself. An excuse to don a full rigout of hat, scarf, gloves and boots with grip in your daily stroll, regular peeks out the window to ‘check if it sticks’, and if there are kids in the house, all hands on deck are required to scrounge together a snowman before the sprinkle melts.

Snow is also an excuse to turn to comfort foods. Winter roasts, casseroles and stews are the treat we have earned after braving the elements after all. While none of us are straying far from home at the moment, it gives us the perfect opportunity to make those dishes that we never have time for in office life. Now while WFH, you can set some time aside during your lunch break to brown the beef and soften the veg, before forgetting all about it. There is nothing nicer than opening the over to a perfect, foolproof dish, except maybe the second helping.

Jamie’s beef stew

Ingredients

  • 800 g lean stewing beef
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 handful of shallots
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 4 carrots
  • ½ a bunch of fresh thyme (15g)
  • 4 ripe vine tomatoes
  • 150 ml red wine
  • 500 ml organic beef stock
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • Worcestershire sauce

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC/325ºF/gas 3.
  2. Dice the beef into 1cm pieces, then toss in a bowl with the flour, making sure the meat chunks are totally covered. Set aside.
  3. Add a splash of oil to a large casserole pan and place it over a medium heat. When it’s hot, add the beef and cook for 5 minutes, or until the meat is browned all over. Transfer to a plate and leave to one side.
  4. While the beef cooks, peel and finely chop the garlic, then peel the shallots and halve most of them, keeping a few whole. Trim and roughly chop the celery, then peel, trim and chop the carrots into 2cm rounds.
  5. Splash a little more oil into the pan, then add the veg. Strip the leaves from the thyme and add to the pan, then cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened.
  6. Return the beef to the pan, then stir through the tomatoes and wine. Once the liquid has been absorbed, add the stock, bay leaves and a splash of Worcestershire sauce.
  7. Season with sea salt and black pepper, then transfer the stew to the oven to cook for 3 to 4 hours, or until the meat is tender and pulls apart easily with forks.
  8. Serve your beef stew with creamy mashed potato and, if you like, a glass of your favourite red wine.