After weeks – no, months – of what can only be described as a health hardship, I’d taken ill. My body was falling apart. From a nagging cough to undiagnosed aches and pains as well as a battered and bruised heart, it was time to fix things from the inside.
What I needed was warmth and wellness. A hearty stew was the only way to go. Rich red meat, vitamins in the form of vegetables and a glass of ravishing red wine all rallied together to make me better.
Beef Stew with Red Wine
15ml coconut oil
500g beef shin, bone-in, cut into small pieces
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
3 cloves of giant garlic, sliced
50g of streaky bacon, diced
½ a punnet of baby porcini mushrooms
500ml chicken stock
50g tomato paste
150ml chopped tomatoes
1 cup of red wine
Take your favourite, well-seasoned heavy base casserole pot and give it a hug. A good stew has to start with some love.
Heat the oil until glistening. While you’re waiting for your oil to come to the party, season the meat with salt and pepper. Brown the meat as well as the bones in the oil. Once browned, place the meat on a plate and set aside.
Take the bacon and let it dance in the coconut oil. Render the fat so that it can envelop and kiss the upcoming Mirepoix.
Once the bacon fat has been rendered, invite the onion, carrot and celery into the pot. Let them get to know each other for about five minutes before spicing things up with the garlic. After a few more minutes, add the tomato paste and stir so that the flavours don’t all stick to the base of the pan.
Right now there are wafts of savoury goodness filling the kitchen. Breathe it in and let it warm your lungs.
Add a little red wine to the pot to keep things moving.
It’s time to reintroduce the meat. To ease the transition (it was cold out there!), add the stock, tomatoes and the rest of the red wine to the pot at the same time. Don’t feel precious about the amount of wine – use your best judgment.
So all the nervous introductions are done, everyone’s mingling… it’s now time to put the lid on, turn down the heat and let the flavours, love and wellness brew for about an hour.
After a while on the couch or at the dinner table, follow the intoxicating smells back into the kitchen. Open the pot and have a taste. Add whatever you feel is missing – some salt, a dash more wine, if things are looking dry add a bit of water. Add the mushrooms, put the lid back on, make sure the heat is nice and low, and let it simmer for another two hours.
Once you can’t contain your hunger anymore, add some handfuls of baby spinach, give it a good stir and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
Serve on warm plates with crusty, buttered bread or cauliflower mash and garnish with a little cheese.