Slow-cook your supper

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 March, 2012, 12:00am


These dishes may take a long time to cook, but they're all the more tasty because of it. They also mean you can prepare them, then get on with something else while they cook.

Beef stew

This stew uses a cheaper and leaner cut of beef which means it needs to be cooked long and slowly for the meat to become tender and succulent. This dish tastes better the next day, with the flavours melding together after a night in the fridge.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

500g braising or stewing steak, cut into bite-size pieces

1 tablespoon oil

2 medium onions, peeled, sliced

2 cloves garlic, peeled, minced

2 heaped tablespoons flour

2 medium carrots, peeled, cut into chunks

2 tablespoons tomato puree

200ml red wine

450ml beef or vegetable stock

1 bay leaf

200g mushrooms, chopped

salt and pepper to taste


1 Pre-heat the oven to 300?F, 150?C fan or 170?C.

2 Heat half a tablespoon of oil in a non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Fry half of the beef until it's browned all over. Set it aside. Repeat with the remaining oil and other half of the beef.

3 Add the onions to the pan and saute for 7-8 minutes over a low-medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent. Toss in the garlic, stir and fry for a few minutes.

4 Add the beef to the pan, then sprinkle over the flour and mix thoroughly before adding in the red wine, stock and tomato puree.

5 Bring the stew to the boil before adding the carrots and bay leaf.

6 Transfer the beef stew to a casserole dish, bring the stew back to the boil, cover and then cook in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.

7 Remove the casserole from the oven, stir in the mushrooms, cover and put it back in the oven for 30minutes or until the mushrooms are cooked. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with mashed potatoes and boiled vegetables.

Nutritional information per serving: 327kcal, 1371kJ, 31.6gprotein, 11.0g fat, 19.7gcarbohydrates, 3.5g fibre

Chicken stew with parsley dumplings

Comfort foods are so called because they usually bring back good memories. When you're far from home or nursing a cold, you yearn for familiar, comforting things like a fluffy jumper or toy, a kiss from your mum or home-cooked foods. This one-pot dish is the food equivalent of a security blanket.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1/2 tablespoon oil

1 large onion, peeled, roughly chopped

2 celery stalks, trimmed, cut into

1cm pieces

2 tablespoons plain flour

600ml chicken stock

200g frozen peas


200g plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

salt and pepper

60ml skimmed milk

15g butter, melted


1 Make the dumplings by sifting the flour and baking powder together. Add the parsley, milk and butter and mix gently until a stiff batter forms. Set aside while you make the stew.

2 Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the chicken thighs and brown on both sides.

3 Remove the chicken and place in a casserole dish or saucepan.

4 Add the onions and celery to the frying pan and saute for 5-7 minutes or until the onions have softened and turned slightly translucent.

5 Sprinkle in the flour, mix and then slowly add the chicken stock, stirring continuously. Pour the vegetables and stock over the chicken thighs in the casserole dish and bring the mixture to a boil.

6 Carefully drop heaped teaspoons of the dumpling batter over the surface of the stew. Cover with a lid and simmer over a low heat for 20 minutes until the chicken and the dumplings have cooked through.

7 Gently stir in the frozen peas and simmer for 5-6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Nutritional information per serving: 401kcal, 1691kJ, 30.8gprotein, 9.2g fat, 52.9gcarbohydrates, 5.3g fibre