beef stew with cinnamon and bay leavesrating:
500g braising steak cut into 3-4 cm pieces
300ml red wine
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoonful of flaked dried chillies
100g cubed pancetta or equivalent
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 small shallots, peeled but left whole
12 baby carrots or three large carrots cut into little batons
1 tblsp plain flour
300ml beef stock
200g cooked, peeled chestnuts
125-200g sliced button mushrooms.
put the meat, wine, garlic, cinnamon, chilli and bay leaves in a bowl. Cover and leave in the fridge to marinate overnight.
preheat oven to 150ºC (Gas Mark 2). Drain and dry the meat (use kitchen paper). Retain the marinade.
fry pancetta/bacon in a casserole over medium heat until it starts to brown. Add half the olive oil, then the shallots, carrots and the cinnamon and bay leaves from the marinade. Sauté the carrots and shallots until they start to go brown.
in a large frying pan add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil (you may well need more - keep an eye on this). Brown the meat in batches and, when it is browned on all sides, add to the casserole with the carrots and shallots.
add the flour, stir well, then add the reserved marinade. Bring to the boil and add the stock. Return to the boil, then cover and put in the oven for 1 hour 20 mins or until the meat is tender and the sauce thickened. After about 1
hour, put the sliced mushrooms and the chestnuts into the casserole, stirring gently to amalgamate.
after 1hr 20 minutes, check that all is properly cooked. Remove from the oven and stand, covered, for 20 minutes.