You know sometimes you cook something so simple, yet so wonderful, a stew for example, that fills your house with a warm scent of a loving welcome for those coming home after a long day at work. Last night I made this, it was late when we ate, I wasn’t much in the mood to take photographs, on top of that the stew smelled so wonderful that I didn’t have much patience either. So I took a quick snap-shot, however, the meal was really truly amazing, simple, but so satisfying, there is something special about beans and stew, that I wanted to share. Beans from an organic farm, beef from free-range cows, I’m convinced you can taste the difference with every bite. The wine, yes we did have wine, it was excellent, was a Primitivo Di Manduria, Sessantanni Old Vines, a bottle we were given at Christmas, and it was very nice indeed. Looking for a simple but excellent meal for a weekday dinner (if you have a slow-cooker) for two?
The night before!!! Put about 200g jumbo white beans, see photo via link below, in water and soak over night.
Beef Stew (takes about 2 hours)
- 500 g beef in cubes – use a cut from the shoulder or the rear end – you will stew slowly for 2 hours, it will be super tender at this point. Oh and get free-range organic beef, I defy you to tell me you cannot taste the difference.
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 clove garlic halved
- 1 carrot in two or three pieces
- 2 bay leaves
- olive oil
- 200ml dry white wine (Wine you would drink)!. I used something French.
In a heavy saucepan with a heavy lid ( if you have a le creuset, this is when you want to use it), heat some olive oil. Not extra virgin, just good oil for cooking. Add the chopped onion and sautee till nice and soft, not crispy, not brown, just soft. Add the garlic and bay leaves and meat and brown the meat nicely. Don’t crowd the saucepan or the meat will sweat instead of browning. Add the carrot. Add some water, add about 100ml of wine, turn down the heat (if you have 1-10 heat settings you are looking at a 3-4) and cover and simmer. Check regularly and add a splash of wine as needed. 200ml is an estimate, I don’t really measure when I cook.
After about 1 hour and 40 minutes make the jumbo beans:
Drain the beans and place into a pressure cooker, add fresh water, don’t add bicarbonate of soda, or salt. About 20 minutes in the pressure cooker should do the trick. Drain most of the liquid out, reserve some in case you drain too much. Mash the beans in your hajnd-held blender, add in hot cooking water as you go till you have the right consistency. Add a nice generous glug of REALLY GOOD olive oil, I use Sicilian but by all means use Tuscan or whatever you love most. You can use butter too of course if you prefer. Add some salt to taste and you have an amazing mash. I love it more that potato.
After about 2 hours your meat will be tender and soft, your bean mash will be buttery and warm, and and your house will smell divine. If your doorbell rings now it’s because all the neighbours want to come over for dinner.
To serve: After about 2 hours
Lay the table – put out some nice cloth napkins, some candles, some large red wine glasses, and water glasses. And then place some mash in each bowl, and top with some stew, and get ready to fight the urge to lick the plate..Or have some bread handy.
Oh and if you don’t eat any bread with this it is relatively low in carbs, which really wasn’t the point though.