Baby Led Weaning

Growing healthy babies with healthy appetites

Posts Tagged ‘beef’

Beef and Beer Casserole – THE perfect BLW foodstuff

Wednesday, September 6th, 2006

Not kidding. It's spot-on, if you think about it. A stew of baby-fist-sized meat and chunky veggies bound together by the unifying theme of gravy but each piece utterly recognisable and distinct from the other… it's absolutely ideal. Oh, and apparently the beer is fine so long as you boil the alcohol off. Huzzah, I love winter… bring on the cold weather food I say.

500g lean stewing beef, cubed
Butter
Olive oil
Large onion
Plain flour, not much more than a heaped tablespoon is necessary
Two carrots
6 or so new potatoes
Three-quarters of a pint of beer. If the beer is dark make it half a pint.
Water for adding extra liquid
Two bayleaves or a bouquet garni
Salt and pepper

It's really the Husband who is in charge of beef casseroles in our house (I make beautiful ones myself but he showed an aptitude when we first got together and I saw no reason to discourage him). He somewhat pompously insists that the secret to a good casserole comes from drying the meat with kitchen towel before dipping it in seasoned flower. He reckons, and I am inclined to believe him, that if the meat is wet it poaches briefly on contact with the oil and isn't as nice. You might want to leave out the seasoning as it's for the baby, but I know that he puts in only a couple of turns of the salt grinder and most of it gets left behind anyway.

So he takes 500g or so of meat (we get ours from the farmer's market, it's actually from Highland cows, the hairy ones with the horns. I was horrified when I realised but they taste soooo nice). He dries it, as mentioned, dips it in a wee bowl of salt and peppered flour and then drops it into some hot oil and butter in the pan. Say four or five cubes at a time, dependant on the size of your frying pan/casserole dish. Sometimes we cook a kilo of meat up and freeze half.

Once you've finished with that, leave your browned meat in a dish to the side and crack on with your onions and whatever else you fancy. There will probably be some flour stuck to the bottom of the pan but don't worry, it will come off during the course of the cooking and 'it's all flavour', as my Grandma used to say. Chop your large-ish onion, add some more oil (and a spot of butter for flavour) keep the heat down and slowly cook your onion. We find this takes about eight to ten minutes – it's a source of some confusion to me that recipes seem to suggest that onions cook in a flash. They do if you're burning them, I suppose.

We normally just have this with mushrooms in it but in deference to Babybear's new-found ability to eat solids we put in a couple of sliced carrots and a good handful of quartered new potatoes. Fry them off gently, then slowly pour over a  bottle of  beer, something like an 80 shilling, not too dark not too light and let cook for five minutes to take off the alcohol. Add a couple of bay leaves or a bouquet garni, then return the meat to the pan cover with  lid and cook at 325F/170C/Gas Mark 3 for 1 and a half hours, checking it every so often for sticking or extra liquid. Because of the potatoes we served this just with some petits pois, which are a story in themselves. We left her bits and pieces to cool and put them on Babybear's highchair tray while we ate our meal, and she really absolutely adored it. There were some leftovers which, of course, tasted even better the following day.

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