It's been a strange old summer here. While there have certainly been a few hot days and also some steamy humid days, much of summer was marked with rain and quite a few cool days. Where we live up in the mountains, it is usually a bit cooler no matter the time of year compared with Sydney. There have been days during summer I would have considered to be soup days. But I hung on and stuck to the mostly lighter summer fare, somehow unable to cook hearty cool weather dishes until at least the calendar said Autumn had arrived.
I love the arrival of autumn and it is by far my favourite season for cooking. I love the slight crispness in the air and how it draws me ever closer to the kitchen. I can happily spend much of the weekend pottering around the kitchen with a pot bubbling away slowly. Or I am very happy with coffee cup in one hand, flicking through one of my recipe books and seeking inspiration for the next dish.
So with the arrival of autumn, I was absolutely hanging out for the first cool day when I could make something hearty and warming. As good as the summer salads were with all their infinite variety, by the end of summer I am really loooking to cook something more substantial not to mention slow cooked.
I decided on this beef, ginger and honey stew which is slow cooked for an hour and a half to produce a luscious stew and tender falling apart beef. The ingredients here are an inspiration from the many Asian ingredients in my pantry and the ginger I had bought from the green grocer that morning.
Beef, ginger & honey stew
600g beef (I used rump but use any cheaper cut of meat in this dish), diced
2 large carrots. Sliced
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2cm ginger, finely chopped
2 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs honey
1 Tbs Chinese cooking wine
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp dried chilli (optional)
1 ½ cups beef stock
2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs plain flour
1. In a heavy based saucepan, heat the olive oil and brown the beef in batches. Remove beef from pan and set aside.
2. To the pan in a little olive oil, sauté the vegetables, chilli (if using), garlic and ginger for a few minutes.
3. Return the beef to the pan with the vegetables. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and fry for 2 minutes.
4. Add the soy sauce, wine, honey, sesame oil, pepper and stock. Allow to come to a simmer.
5. Place on a lid and simmer on very low heat for about 1.5 hours until the meat is very tender.
6. Serve with rice or noodles if desired.