Ingredients (feeds 5-6 pax):
1 kg beef chuck, cut to 1" cubes
1 tsp dried thyme (or 3 sprigs fresh thyme)
1/3 cup all-purpose plain flour
3 potatoes, cut to 1" cubes
500 gm mushrooms, sliced roughly (I used a mix of portobello, swiss browns and white buttons)
2 carrots, cut to 1" cubes
2 ribs celery, cut to 1" cubes
1 medium onion, cut to 1cm cubes
1 shallot, minced finely
2 cloves garlic, minced finely
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 cups beef stock
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cups red wine (use a drinkable full-bodied young red, like a burgundy or bordeaux)
5 cloves garlic, smashed
2 carrots, diced to 1cm cubes
2 ribs celery, diced to 1cm cubes
2 bay leaves
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 large onion, diced to 1cm cubes
1) Combine the beef with the marinade for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight. To cook, remove beef from marinade, reserving the strained marinade for later.
2) Just before cooking, lightly salt and flour the beef. Pop onto a pan with olive oil to brown it all over on medium-high heat. Do not flour the beef until just before you pop it onto the pan. Also, don't crowd the pan, otherwise the heat gets dissipated. Work in batches (I worked with 4 batches) if necessary, and set aside the browned beef for later.
3) Leaving behind 3 tbsp of the beef drippings, fry onions, shallots and garlic until translucent/fragrant, about 1 minute.
4) Add carrots and celery, and continue to fry, about 1 minute.
5) Add mushrooms and continue to fry, about 1 minute.
6) Lower heat and add tomato paste, frying until fragrant, about 1 minute.
7) Add strained marinade, increase heat to medium-high, and bubble until reduced by half.
8) Return beef to pan.
9) Add beef stock and thyme, bring to a boil, and then lower heat to a simmer for the next 6 hours. If using the slow cooker, combine steps 3 to 9 by tossing everything into the slow cooker after the browning of the beef, and put on 'automatic'. Throw in the potatoes right when you've gotten home to cook them through.
10) In the last half hour, increase heat to medium and add in the potatoes.
11) Serve with a sprinkle of paprika or sour cream if preferred.