Beef stew and pesto mash


Babies seem to prefer a tomatoey base to a beef stew – I suppose it’s lighter and fruitier and less intense.

Bert also seems to prefer having food dumped en masse in front of him and being in control of what he eats. Fair enough, I suppose I do too. This is good for picking up, but soft enough to chew when you’ve got just a couple of Bugs Bunny teeth.

Serves 2.5 or 1.5 with leftovers for pie or baked potatoes

450 g stewing steak

About 30 g plain flour, seasoned with grated nutmeg and black pepper

A couple of glugs of olive oil

1 stick celery, grated

1 large carrot or two small, grated

1 large carrot or two small, cut into chunks

1 red onion, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon dried rosemary or the leaves from a small sprig of fresh rosemary, very finely chopped

1 dessert spoon tomato puree

1 low salt beef stock cube

About 400ml water – hot from the kettle

Floury potatoes to your appetite – I used 5 smallish ones for the two of us and we had leftovers

2 dessert spoons basil pesto

Coat the beef  in the seasoned flour, heat a glug of oil in a frying pan and brown the beef on all sides. Transfer to a casserole dish with any remaining seasoned flour. Saute the veg in a bit more oil till the onions are soft. The shredded veg will melt into the sauce. Add to the casserole with the herbs, tomato puree, stock cube and water. Bring to a good boil on the top of the stove then cook at 180 degrees for about 3 hours. I’ve got an Aga, and I cook it on the bottom of the simmering oven for 3 or 4 hours.

Peel and chop the potatoes into even pieces and put in a pan of cold water, bringing to the boil, reducing to a simmer and then cooking till tender – about 20 minutes, depending on the size of your pieces. Or, if you’ve got an Aga, try the ‘steaming in the simmering oven’ method, curse your Aga and vow never to try that method again, and cook on the top of the stove till done. Mash till very smooth then stir in the pesto.

Grab handfuls and stuff them in your mouth, nose and ears.


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