Monday, February 27, 2012

My mothers red bean stew

My mother was quite an adventurous cook and would often try recipes from all over the world, we did not eat a lot of standard English fare, in fact I was a food snob from a very early age. One day when I was only about 4 or 5 I went accross the road to where my friend lived and asked if I could come for dinner because we were having "English" food for dinner, obvouisly not up to my sophisticated standards.  Mrs Stanley my friends mother was from Budapest and was a wonderful cook and always cooked interesting unfamiliar food which she was happy to share with me.

However one of my mothers standby's that I was particularly fond of was beef stew with red beans.  I am sure the red beans were some frugal Yorkshire trick to make the beef go further, but never the less I always enjoyed it.  As this weekend was particularly horrible, rainy and cold I remembered of this stew and thought it would be the comfort food that I needed.

To feed 4 with left overs or 6

1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 onion chopped
6 cups of cubed stewing beef cut up
2 cups of red beans soaked for one hour in boiling water
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon of dried basil
2 cups of beef stock.
1 can of crushed tomatoes
Handful of chopped parsley

Add the oil and onion to a large pot, I used my mothers Le Crueset which is what my mother always cooked this in.  Cook until the onion is translucent then add the beef.

Stir the beef up with the onion then add all the remaining ingredients.

Cover and place in 350 oven for about 2 hours.  After the first hour check and see if any more liquid is needed I added about another cup of stock.

After the two hours you have a wonderful rich stew and the beans will almost be falling apart.

The beef was nice and lean so I did not need to take any fat off.  I served this, as my mother always did, with rice.  

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