There's an irony here, and it's not just the cast-iron pan (although in some ways, it is).
Inspired by all the Slow Cooker recipes I've posted here at Freshly Ground, my Mum bought me the Slow Cooker recipe book pictured above. Thanks, Mum.
She also asked me to try a few recipes from it and post them here, so that was, by all means, my intention.
The trouble was that on the day Aunty L came to visit and I was going to do just as Mum had asked, we ran out of hours in the day, and therein lies the irony.
I sort of had to adapt the Slow-cooked Burgundy Beef Stew with Horseradish Dumplings - which I had planned to make - into something that I didn't need to, well, Slow-cook. Also, I just made normal dumplings. Not a big horseradish fan.
So, Mum, here's what might be a version of that recipe, but done in the oven, the old-fashioned way. Anyway, I had to change the recipe somewhat so as not to be in some sort of copyright breach, so I'm going to call this...
Dan's Burgundy Beef Stew
750g Stewing Steak, cubed
1t dried thyme or 1T fresh thyme
Whole nutmeg, for grating
1 Onion, sliced
3-4 Cloves Garlic, chopped
2T Flour or Potato Flour
300ml Red Wine
300ml Beef Stock
1T Tomato Puree
2 Bay Leaves
3 Carrots, peeled and sliced
1 Leek, trimmed and sliced into rings
100g Mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
Oil for frying
Freshly Ground Pepper and Salt
Season the meat with salt and pepper and a splash of wine. Heat the oil in a pan, then brown the meat in batches. While frying, add thyme and a few grates of nutmeg. Add the onion, stir in and fry for a few minutes. Add the garlic and flour, then mix in the wine and stock.
Add the tomato puree, bay leaves and salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then transfer to an oven dish.
Mix in the mushrooms and leeks, make sure there is enough liquid in the dish to almost cover the stew (add more hot water if necessary), and place in the oven at 180c for 2 hours.
Prepare your dumplings when the stew goes in the oven, and add to the oven dish for the last 20 minutes of cooking.Dish up with rice (boiled in beef stock, of course) and a nice glass of red wine.
The slow-cooker version is to shift the meat from the pan to the slow-cooker on low for 7 hours, then adding the leeks and mushrooms, turning the slow-cooker up to high, and then 45 minutes later adding the dumplings for a further 45 minutes. Certainly not something you can start into at 3pm, but here's the quick version. And as you can see, it turned out pretty well.