The name beef casserole is an understatement. This is one of the best meals you’ll ever eat.
Beef Casserole: A British Favorite
Maybe I should say “favourite” under these conditions–LOL. But any way you spell it, you’re bound to love it.
This is another entry in what I call, “The food of my people,” and it’s another one that doesn’t disappoint. The British have mastered the art of the understatement and this recipe is a perfect example of it.
The mere thought of “beef casserole” doesn’t conjure up many exciting thoughts. In fact, it sounds rather humdrum. However, the taste is far from humdrum. It’s savory, delicious and has just the right amount of piquantness to make your taste buds sing.
A Natural With Beef
One of the subtle flavors in this beef casserole is–wait for it–horseradish. Well, actually horseradish cream sauce.
While the Brits love a gravy, more often than not you’ll see them use horseradish cream with a roast beef. The good news is, this product is also sold here. I can find it in my local grocery so I’m sure you can find it in yours. It’s either in the aisle where other prepared condiments, i.e., Worcestershire sauce, BBQ sauce, are sold. Otherwise you’ll find it over by the service deli.
I’m sure there’s recipes for it on the net if you want to make it yourself, but to me it’s easier to buy it. It’s potent too so don’t expect a wishy-washy taste. When I open one and take a sniff, my sinuses are immediately clear!!!
Worcestershire Or Soy Sauce
The British recipes for this type of stew call almost invariably for Worcestershire sauce. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan unless there’s only a scant amount of the stuff.
Whenever anything calls for more than a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce in a volume such as this one, I substitute soy sauce. I just find the flavor to be more pleasant. They’re pretty much interchangeable for what they are used for even though they taste different.
- 3 tbs oil
- 3 1/2 lb beef chuck stewing meat also braising beef in UK
- 3 large onions roughly chopped
- 6 garlic cloves crushed or finely chopped
- 10 oz beef stock
- 2 tbs flour
- 10 oz dry white wine
- 3 tbs Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbs light brown sugar
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lb fresh mushrooms halved
- 3 tbs Dijon mustard
- 3 tbs creamed horseradish sauce
- 3-4 tbs heavy cream optional
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a deep, heavy-based, flameproof, lidded casserole over a high heat. Add the beef, in batches if necessary, and fry for 4-5 minutes, or until browned all over. Remove the meat from the casserole using a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Heat the remaining oil in the pan, add the onions and garlic and fry, stirring well, for 4-5 minutes, or until softened, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the casserole using a wooden spoon. Stir in the beef stock.
- In a large bowl, whisk the flour with a little of the wine until smooth, then gradually pour in the remaining wine, whisking until combined to a smooth batter with the consistency of thick cream.
- Return the browned beef to the casserole, then pour over the wine and flour mixture. Bring to the boil, stirring until thickened, then add the Worcestershire sauce and sugar and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover the casserole with the lid, reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering, and simmer very gently for 2 hours, stirring from time to time (may also be cooked in a 325F/160C oven).
- After 2 hours, add the mushrooms, return the mixture to the boil, then cover again, reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering, and simmer for a further 30 minutes, or until the meat is tender.
- Mix the mustard, horseradish and cream (if using) a bowl until well combined. Just before serving, stir it into the beef casserole.