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This recipe takes very little preparation. While it slumbers in the oven, you can get on with whatever is urgent or important in your life. Ask your butcher to saw the meat (on the bone) into manageable or bite-size pieces. If he’s worth his craft, he’ll do it gladly with a smile – just the way life should be … more smiles, less sighs.

Big Beef & Mushroom Bake

Ingredients


  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 500 g (about 6 smallish) onions, sliced into medium-thick wedges
  • 1.5 kg stewing beef on-the-bone, cut into smaller pieces
  • 30 ml cake flour
  • 4 – 6 cloves garlic, roughly sliced
  • 30 ml thyme leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 250 ml prepared beef stock
  • 250 ml bought tangy spare rib marinade
  • 500 g white mushrooms, halved
  • salt and freshly-milled black pepper, to taste
  • 30 ml melted butter (optional)
  • 30 - 45 ml cake flour (optional)



Chef's hint: This dish can be made quite economical if you replace the mushrooms with baby potatoes. Halve and parboil 8 to 12 baby potatoes in salted water for about 10 minutes or until they start to feel cooked. Strain and add to the casserole 45 minutes before the end of the cooking time.

Method


Heat the oil and add the onions. Sauté until golden then transfer to a heat-resistant casserole.

Sprinkle the meat with the 30 ml cake flour and place in the casserole together with the garlic, thyme, bay leaves and mix lightly.

Mix together the stock and marinade and pour over the meat. Cover the casserole and bake in the oven preheated to 190º C for 1½ to 2 hours or until the meat is tender enough to your liking.

Remove the lid and add the mushrooms, season to taste with salt and pepper and continue to cook without a lid until the mushrooms are done.

As mushrooms release liquids as they cook, you may have a lot of cooking juices in the pan at this stage. If so and if you’d like to thicken the juices, stir in a little roux (made by mixing the optional melted butter and cake flour into a paste) and leaving it in the oven for a few minutes longer or until the sauce has thickened.

Alternatively, you could put the heat-resistant casserole on a heated stove plate and bring it to a rapid boil. Cook uncovered until the sauce has reduced and thickened to your liking.

Serve this hearty beef bake with creamy mashed potatoes, sweet green peas and a simple tomato salad.

Serves 6 – 8.