Eunice Power - Outside Catering Company, Waterford, Ireland.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Beef And Prune Casserole

This dish is perfect for a cold Autumn night, slightly spicy with the prunes adding a little sweetness. It can be prepared a day in advance the flavours will mellow and mingle overnight. I serve this with buttered couscous.

Serves 4
  • 1 Kg (2lb) stewing beef, cut into 5 cm (2 inch) pieces
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 60 g (1 oz / 2 tbsp) butter
  • 4 onions, finely sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. chilli powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 350 g (12 oz) ready to eat stoned prunes
  • Hot beef or chicken stock 
  • Salt, black pepper
  1. Heat the oven to 150C
  2. Heat the oil in a large casserole over medium heat. When it is hot, add the beef and fry until sealed and browned well on all sides. You'll probably need to do this in batches because, if the pan is overcrowded, the meat will steam rather than brown.
  3. Return all the beef to the pan, sprinkle over the flour and cook for about 3 minutes until the flour begins to brown. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly coloured, about 10 minutes. Stir in the spices and cook until they begin to release their aromas, 1-2 minutes. Add the bay leaves and prunes and pour over enough hot liquid just to cover. Bring to the boil, put the lid on the casserole then transfer to the oven and cook until very tender, 2 hours. Check half way through cooking as you may need to add a little more stock. By the end of cooking the meat should be coated in a thick and glossy sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Sprinkle with plenty of chopped coriander and parsley
Eunice's Tip
If preparing casseroles a day in advance remove from oven or heat 45 minutes before cooking time is up. It is important to do this, otherwise you will over cook the dish when reheating. To re-heat, pre heat the oven to 160C, heat the casserole gently on the top of the oven, stirring occasionally. When the dish is simmering put lid on the casserole and place in oven for 30-40 minutes or leave to simmer gently on the oven.