This is a fantastic dish full of good stuff. The Buxers couldn’t get enough of it, they were glad plenty was left for Friday’s lay-back day. The potato mash was top with cheese and been put under the grill for a little while, so crunchy on top. Mmm. The vegetarian version without the meat was gorgeous too. I added one extra kind of lentils (the dark ones), they appreciated that 😉
Ingredients (serves 6)
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 medium leeks
1 stick of celery
1 tablespoon olive oil
500 g quality diced stewing beef
1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
2 tablespoons grated horseradish , or a good grating of fresh horseradish
1 litre organic beef or vegetable stock
1 fresh bay leaf
75 g red lentils
Preheat the oven to 170ºC/325ºF/gas 3.
Pick and finely chop the thyme and rosemary leaves. Trim, wash and roughly chop the leeks, trim and finely chop the celery, then peel and finely chop the carrots.
Place a large stew pot on a medium-high heat with the oil and the herbs. Fry for a couple of minutes, then add the chopped veg and cook for a further 8 to 10 minutes, or until softened a little, stirring regularly.
Add the meat and continue to fry until browned all over and the juices have bubbled away. Stir the flour into the pan, then add the tomato purée, horseradish, stock and bay.
Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to low. Crumple up and wet a piece of greaseproof paper, then open it out and place on top of the stew. Cover with a lid and pop in the oven for 2 hours.
At this stage, remove the greaseproof and skim away any fat from the surface, then top up with 200ml of water. Sprinkle in the lentils, then replace the greaseproof, cover and pop back in the oven for a further 30 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked through.
When the time’s up, remove the bay leaf and give the stew a good stir to make sure that nothing has stuck to the bottom of the pan. If the stew is a bit thick, add a little boiling water to thin it down. If it’s a bit thin, sit the pot on the hob and simmer gently until the liquid reduces to your desired consistency.
Taste the stew and season with freshly ground black pepper, if necessary. Delicious served with mashed or baked potato and some lemony dressed greens.