Posted by Sarah Vine.
So last night, feeling a bit chilly, I invented a stew. It's probably all wrong, but I ate it anyway and it was jolly nice. It was inspired by the fact that Waitrose sent me four tins of borlotti beans in my grocery order - must have fallen asleep on the mouse or something, and accidentally double-clicked twice. Anyway, here it is.
1 packet of stewing beef
two tins of borlotti beans
2 glasses of white wine (one for me, one for the pot)
two cloves of garlic, chopped
some lovely button mushrooms
half a litre of chicken stock
pinch of tyme, dried
two bay leaves
four or five good shakes of dried chilli flakes
two sprigs of fresh rosemary
Malvern salt and pepper
Method: put all ingredients in large pot. Stir. Stew on very, very low heat for about three hours. Tania once told me that the way to stop meat going tough in a stew is to not let it boil (I think it's in the book, actually). This is almost as great a revelation as the time she told me how to make her special green sauce.
I ate it with a spoon and the addition of a handful of cooked green beans and some parsley. Really very good. Next time I'd add an onion, though (forgot to order those). And is it greedy to put potatoes in if you have the beans? Probably. But definitely worth a try.
Anyway, it just goes to show that beef doesn't always have to be cooked with red wine and tomatoes. Or maybe it does, and I'm just a philistine.