Brrrr. It’s getting colder. Here’s a great winter stew recipe to warm you up. We make loads of stews all through the winter, and this one – shin of beef with ginger and soy, from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s book, River Cottage Every Day, is a high favourite for several reasons.
1) It’s delicious and tasty. Sometimes totally traditional stew can be a bit bland. Not this, with its soy and ginger. It’s still comfort food of the highest order, but it comes with a kick. It works both as an informal family supper or for a dinner party. It freezes well too.
2) It’s cheap. Shin of beef is an inexpensive cut of meat that needs to be cooked slowly for a long time, so the sinewy parts melt down and add a lovely gelatinous texture. Perfect, then, to use in a stew. 1.5kg of shin of beef, which is a lot of meat, costs less than a tenner.
3) It’s easy. The only trick to this stew, and any stew, is to take your time to brown the meat. You’ll get spat at by the fat, and your tongs will get hot with turning the meat so it’s properly browned on all sides, but it’s so worth it. Once you’ve done that, the rest is mere minutes of prep. Then it just sits in a low oven for 3 hours or so. We sometimes serve it with rice, but it really is best with egg noodles, as Hugh suggests.
Here is the full recipe:
Shin of beef with ginger and soy: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall: River Cottage Everyday.
Serves 4 – 6
2 tablespoons sunflower or groundnut oil or beef fat
About 1.5kg shin of beef, cut into 2cm thick slices, either on or off the bone.
6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 thumb-sized nuggets of fresh ginger, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons tart fruit jam or jelly, such as redcurrant, plum or crab apple
150ml soy sauce
350-500ml apple juice
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 medium-hot fresh or dried chillies
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 120 C/ Gas ½
Heat the oil or fat in a wide, heavy-based flameproof casserole.
Season the pieces of meat with salt and pepper and brown them in batches, so you don’t overcrowd the pan, turning them to colour all over. Remove each batch and set aside while you brown the rest. The meat may curl up a bit as the membranes contract with the heat, especially if the slices are on the bone: snipping the membranes will help release the tension and flatten the meat out again. Once the beef is browned, remove it from the casserole and set aside on a plate.
Reduce the heat to low, add the garlic and ginger to the casserole and cook gently until softened but not coloured. Add the jam or jelly and soy sauce, mix well, then return the meat to the casserole, in a single layer if possible. (It’s not possible, not unless you have the biggest casserole in the world. It doesn’t matter though).
Pour in enough apple juice barely to cover the meat.
Add the vinegar, whole chillies and a few grinds of black pepper, then cover and place in the oven. Cook for 2 ½ – 3 hours, until the meat is completely tender.
The garlic and ginger should just about hold their shape and should be eaten with the meat. The chillies will have done their job and can be discarded – or nibbled by anyone brave enough. Serve with noodles and steamed greens.