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Hearty stew beats the winter chill.

Finally a little bit of sunshine in Sydney, the weather last week was absolutely dreadful. It was so wet that even my dog, Amelie, didn’t want to go outside for a walk and get her tail wet. Also, in this kind of weather, all I could think of is hibernating in front of TV with a big bowl of hot hearty stew. That’s exactly what I did last weekend, cooked a big pot of hearty beef casserole and served with potato and leek mash.

I am sure everyone knows how to make a basic beef casserole. It is simply a beef stew in gravy with chunky vegetables like carrot, celery, et cetera. I had a quick search on and there are literally thousands of beef casserole recipes out there on the internet. I know you don’t need to follow recipe for a simple dish like this, make up your own version of the casserole is part of the fun. My version of the beef casserole is pretty straight forward. This is the lazy Billy talking here, it is a no fuss, one pot wonder. And a little bit of fun, I even made a video of me cooking! I hope you’ll be able to pick up a few tips and tricks in this video.

If you are going to make a casserole, it is always best to make a big pot of it and save yourself some cooking for the following days. With the leftovers, I reheat the casserole and turned it into ragu and served it with home cooked pasta. Alternatively, make a pot pie with the casserole and top it with the leftover potato mash then bake it in the oven. The possibilities are endless.

And guess what, Sydney forecast for the next few daysrain, rain, rain! Let’s us all fill our homes with that beautiful smell of hearty stew, grab a DVD and chillax. Well, I think I’ll pick Garden State follow by Juno. Bliss.

 Hearty Beef Casserole w/ Potato & Leek Mash

Hearty Beef Casserole
2 tbsp olive oil
1kg gravy beef or chuck steak, cut into bite-size chunks
1 carrot. roughly chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
4 stalks celery, roughly chopped
3 bay leafs
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup (250ml) red wine
4 cups (1 litre) beef stock

Potato & Leek Mash
2 large potatoes, quartered
1 leek, roughly chopped
80g butter (20g for cooking)
1/2cup milk
a pinch of truffle salt

A handful of chopped parsley
Grated lemon zest
A squeeze of lemon juice

1. Heat oil in stock pot on medium heat, sauteed onion and garlic until soft and translucent. Then add carrot and celery and keep cooking until soft.

2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in saucepan on medium heat, sear the beef in batches until brown all over. Do not overcrowd the pan. Transfer the cooked meat to the stockpot together with the vegetables.

3. Pour red win and stock into stockpot, add bay leafs and bring to boil. Then turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 2 - 3 hours until the beef is tender and the sauce is thick.
4. In the meantime, prepare the potato and leek mash, the lazy way. Boil the potato in a pot of boiling water (DO NOT ADD SALT) until cooked, poke with a knife and it goes straight through the flesh, it is ready.

5. Sauteed the leek with 20g butter until softened. Drain the potato, add the leek, add milk then blitz with stick blender or just squash them with a fork. Add butter, squash them again, or blitz until smooth. Season with truffle salt.

6. Back to casserole, when is done, the meat is tender and the sauce is thick, season with salt and a squeeze of lemon.

7. To serve, add a few dollops of mash on plate, top with beef casserole, sprinkle with parsley and grate some lemon zest over the top.