Ok, so we all know our mothers are freakin amazing (shout out to Mammy Roughneen!). One of the main things I remember from my childhood is coming in from school or sports absolutely freezing, or being home sick, and mam would make a healthy, hearty beef stew that somehow seemed to whip me back into life again. So, in honor of mammys everywhere (and the “January Flu” season) – here’s one for the team!
(Ingredients measures may very depending on whether you want to have extra to freeze for again)
- 1 and a 1/2 pounds stewing beef (cubed, fat taken off)
- 6 Small organic carrots, chopped (or 2-3 normal size carrots)
- 1 Medium parsnip, chopped
- 3-5 Medium mushrooms, sliced
- Handful baby potatoes (6-8), each chopped in half
- 1/2 Cup garden peas (I always keep a bag in the freezer)
- 1/2 Medium white onion, diced
- 3 Sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dry thyme)
- 2 Fresh bay leaves (or 1 teaspoon dry bay leaves)
- 6 Cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Oxo cubes, melted in 1 cup warm water
- 1 Teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2-3 Cups warm water (depending on how big your slow cooker or pot is)
- 1 Tablespoon flour (mix with 1/2 cup water to make a flour rue)
- I could make this sound difficult, but you literally chop everything up and put it into a slow cooker on low to med heat (175°F/80°C) for 4 hours. If you can put it on for longer at a lower heat – do. If you are using a hob, put it all in a pot on low – med heat for 4 hours.
- After 4 hours, add the flour rue to thicken then leave for a further 20 minutes on low heat.
NOTE: This recipe works best if you can make it the day before, and leave it to sit over night. The meat will be so much softer and the flavors will intensify.
The best thing about stew is that YOU control the strength of the taste. If you love garlic – add more! Not enough bite? Add more salt and pepper OR ignite your spicy side and add a few red pepper or chili flakes (use with caution).
I’m not going to lie – I have never in my life made a stew that tastes like my mams. Maybe its the fact its slow cooked on the old style range (stove) fueled by turf and timber; maybe it’s the fact that its local beef that comes from McGreal’s Butchers, Balla, Co. Mayo; maybe its the vegetables that my parents grow in the garden that don’t have “pesticides” in their vocabulary; or maybe its just the whole-hearted love that’s been passed down from generation to generation in the recipe. Whatever the case, try this out and amend it to suit your own family’s taste. I promise there won’t be an empty plate in the house on these cold, wintery evenings!