What with Rercy succumbing to Tesco, both SnackBox and I sucked in by McDonald’s extra value sugar offer, Cat plundering the depths of dessert, and Jean on a steak/pie-only diet, you’d be forgiven for thinking we’ve given up. Yes, we’ve taken to the couch surrounded by empty pizza boxes, and a shallow and judgmental documentary crew from Sky One are due here any moment.
Redemption lies, as always, in my mum’s beef stew. Its beauty lies in its simplicity, and a packet of oxtail soup. I know a lot of superb cooks who spend hours and hours slowly cooking delicious stews or soups, full of care and love, before adding a packet of Knorr soup or a dollop of ketchup or Chef sauce. I once attended a dinner party where the cook was famous for her version of Eden smokies. Everyone raved about them, but only I knew that her secret ingredient was a dollop of ketchup.
Mum’s stew sounds almost too easy to be nice, while some of you may raise an eyebrow at the packet soup. But it’s proven to be hugely resilient and always popular. And it’s perfect for the coming cold weekend. Do you have a nicer beef stew recipe?
- 2 lbs diced beef
- 4 carrots, sliced diagonally into large chunks
- A handful of fresh parsley
- A handful of fresh thyme
- 2 onions, peeled and sliced into quarters
- 3/4 packet of oxtail soup
- Brown the beef chunks in a pot until they are sealed.
- Add the carrots and herbs and cover with cold water.
- With the lid on, bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for at least two hours on a very low heat. It doesn’t do any harm to cook all day.
- About half an hour before serving, add the onion to the pot. Also add the oxtail soup: blend the powder to a paste and slowly stir it in.
- Warm though and serve with potatoes.