1 tablespoon olive oil
4 brown onions cut into eighths
4 stalks celery diced
4 cloves garlic crushed
5 shortcut bacon rashers diced
1.5kg topside beef roast diced
1 bottle of red wine, less the small glass you poured to check it’s fit to drink.*
1 fennel bulb diced (white part only)
4 carrots diced
4 medium potatoes peeled and diced
300g button mushrooms halved
1L beef stock (made with Massel stock cubes
plain flour to thicken (I think I used about 1/2 a cup)
4 bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon dried thyme
ground black pepper
Heat oil in large pot, add onions, celery, garlic and bacon and cook till onion begins to soften.
Add diced beef and cook for a few minutes. You could at this point mess around with tossing the beef in flour and browning it separately from the onion and bacon mix but that’s all too much like hard work.
Add red wine, yes, all of it.
Add the fennel, carrots, potato and mushrooms.
Add stock cubes.
Add 500mL water.
Whisk the flour into the other 500mL of water and then pour that slowly into the pot whisking it in as you go.
Add bay leaves, allspice and thyme.
Season generously with black pepper.
Simmer until the meat and veggies are tender.
Taste at regular intervals because the smell is making your tummy rumble, luckily there’s plenty of it so there should still be enough for two or maybe even three meals for the family despite your depredations.
Serve with rice and whatever green veg your kids are willing to eat.
Freeze the rest knowing that on one of those came home exhausted and can’t face cooking days all you’ll have to do is put some rice on and stick the casserole in the microwave to reheat. And then be smug because you’re one of those organised, plans ahead type of people. Sometimes, anyway.
*If it’s not fit to drink, don’t cook with it!