I know I should be offering you an Irish stew recipe with it being St Patrick’s day on Tuesday but I have to admit I’m not a big stew lover, I have to blame my own mother for this (sorry mam) but we were force fed Irish stew on a weekly basis as children. I have memories of it sitting on the range simmering away full of carrots and parsnips, the most hated food of my childhood, I couldn’t stand the texture and taste of the stewing meat, I would have chosen a rare steak any day even at a young age. Needless to say once I flew the nest I didn’t eat stew for a long time until you guessed it, I cooked an Italian stew! I still haven’t been converted completely as I still don’t love this cut of beef  but I do enjoy this recipe so I get over it.

With all the “frugal food talk” all over the media at the moment this recipe is great for using the cheaper cuts of meat which are mentioned in every food magazine lately, were we all feasting on fillet and fois gras for the last few years?? I don’t think so but I suppose this is the theme for the moment while we all get used to the recession.  To be honest Italian food fits eating on the cheap perfectly as it doesn’t focus on the most expensive ingredients, just using simple but good quality ingredients and making something special from virtually nothing sometimes so maybe I’ll write a book called “in a recession just eat Italian food”…:)

what you need:

1 kg stewing meat cut into cubes, I use round steak from Flavins butchers.

25g butter

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion finely chopped

1 carrot chopped into small pieces( my mother used to chop them into huge chunks which led to my stew fear)

1 celery stick  chopped

5 tbsp dry white wine

400g chopped tomatoes

1 bay leaf

1 sprig of thyme

sea salt and black pepper

2 tbsp plain flour


what to do:

heat your oil and butter in a pot, add your onions and cook for about 5-7 mins until soft but not coloured, add your bay leaf:













add your carrots, celery, thyme and cook over a low heat for about 10 mins until soft, stirring occasionally:














add your meat and flour:














cook until browned all over, add your wine, have a glass yourself while you’re at it for St Patricks day:) I added a little water too but I don’t think I needed it so if you think you don’t have enough liquid add some water or beef stock.














cook until it has evaporated and season well:














add your tomatoes, cover and leave to simmer over a low heat for about 2 hours:














and serve with some creamy mashed potatoes and a big hearty red, Julian over at Bubblebrothers recommends my favourite wine Primitivo for this recipe, unfortunately I only had a Brunello in the house at the time, poor me:)

















buon appetito!