Beef, Red Wine and Mushroom Casserole

I don’t know about you but these grey February days which are often wet and blustery to boot, make me want to huddle down.   I long for warming comfort food that makes little demand on my time and is waiting for me, filling the kitchen with delicious smells when I come back in from the cold.  Whether you call this recipe a casserole or a stew I will leave up to you.  My Mum always called it a casserole and I still make it in her old Le Creuset casserole that’s decades old!

But don’t let the intricacies of the name cause you any pause because it can also can be used as the base for so many different dishes when cooked.  To get you started try spooning some of it into a deep pie dish and, when the filling is cold top it with puff pastry or mashed potato and pop it back in the oven for a pie.   If you take the lid off the casserole for the last hour it will reduce slowly and then you can use it as you would a ragu (I like to shred the meat a little at this point) to accompany tagliatelle.  My favourite way is to add large 2cm cubes of celariac and/or potato for the last hour and serve it in a bowl with a hunk of bread on the side.

As for tips to making this dish, there are only a few.  Lightly dust the meat with seasoned flour before you fry them in batches till they are lovely and brown.  If you over flour the excess will burn and not give you the meat caramelisation (ie flavour) that you are looking for.  This is a dish that needs time in the oven so don’t rush it.  Go do something else while it does it stuff!


  • 25g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 4tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 kg shin of beef,  cut into 2cm chunks
  • 1-2tbsp flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 3 carrots, cut into 1cm slices
  • 2 stalks of celery, in 1 cm slices
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 250ml red wine
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2tbsp tomato puree
  • 1tsp sugar
  • 500ml beef stock
  • 1tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp soft butter



  1. Put porcini in a small bowl and cover them with water from a kettle that has just boiled.  Leave to soak for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Put the meat with the seasoned flour in a bag a shake to coat.
  3. Heat 2tbsp of the oil in the casserole until hot.  Add half the meat and brown thoroughly.  Remove from casserole and keep warm whilst browning the second batch (adding more oil if necessary).
  4. After removing the second batch of meat add the remaining oil,  onions, carrots and celery and season.  Sauté for 10 minutes until vegetables soften but not brown.
  5. Add bay leaves and thyme, red wine, chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, sugar to the vegetables and stir.
  6. Return the browned meat to the pan together with and juices that have gathered underneath it.
  7. Drain the porcini, reserving the liquid.  Add all but the bottom centimetre – which is often gritty – to the casserole together with enough of the stock to cover.
  8. Season.
  9. Bring to a simmer, cover and put in a pre-heated oven at 140-160c and leave for 3 hours till the meat is tender
  10. Mash the soft butter and flour together into a paste and stir into casserole for the final 30 minutes which will help it to thicken.
  11. Serve with whatever green vegetable you like.



My Mum (again) used to blitz any leftovers she didn’t freeze into a meat soup adding a little water if necessary to get the right consistency.

You can always reheat and use as a pie etc as described above.



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