Tuesday, 24 March 2009

A controversial beef stew

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.


  1. I just got the link to your new blog and also Miss Whistle’s. And I have to say I’m hooked just as I am on another new find that’s just as riveting. That one’s The Johnson Diaries-Life on the Edge at www.nora-johnson.blogspot.com. You’re all on my list of favourites now!

  2. That sounds divine - maybe thats on the menu tonight. On another subject - have you ever made Hot Cross Buns? The authentic ones cannot be found in the US so I thought why not make them myself - using a BBC recipe.

  3. Mrs - it's a stroke of genius. Irish stew method applied to beef. Would never have thought of it in a million years. Am going to make at once. xx

  4. I am ashamed to say that I only realised the true gorgeousness of borlotti beans in the last few years despite being brought up on lentils and chickpeas (hippy mum). Now I end up cooking with them at least twice a week. Fantastic creamy texture.
    Will stop now as drooling on keyboard.

  5. Meant to say to Myspace - Welcome. So thrilled you are hooked. Sarah and I are very new to this and get incredibly excited when we get new readers.

    Don't you just love the Whistling blog? You should look at all the other ones we list too - we are excessively discerning and only link to the very finest.

    Looking forward to seeing you here again - Tania

  6. Sounds yummy.
    I love a good stew and I'm a hopeless fiddler when it comes to food, so each stew is a variation. Haven't put beans in though, for some reason I only do that with chicken. Will give it a go.
    Those mouse click mistakes do make for some interesting improvisation though don't they?


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