Thursday, November 24, 2011

2 1/2 Hour Balsamic Beef Casserole

I’m a firm believer in the slower the cook, the more tender the food, and this casserole is pure testament to that. I hadn’t intended on cooking a casserole today,

 I’d actually planned on a beef stir fry for my husband, but when I arrived back into work after my lunch break with my steak, my lovely colleague Noreen informed me that the steak I got would need chewing for a week if I were to use it in a stir fry!! You see, I pickup up round steak from the supermarket, and round steak, although looks like a lovely sirloin does in fact requires really slow cooking in order for it to tenderise. So stir fry plans scrapped, I had to put my thinking cap on to figure out a stewing beef dish that wasn’t too boring.

I decided on a beef casserole with a Mediterranean influence, firstly because the flavours would go well together, but secondly because the majority of the ingredients are store cupboard staples that I would have at home already.  I use 3 tbsp of balsamic vinegar in this stew which does seem a bit too overpowering. But the slow cooking mellows the intense vinegar flavour, lending a deep richness to the dish.

Serves 4


  • 1 lb of round steak, cut into chunks
  • 4-5 sprigs of thyme, left intact
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp of tomato puree
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp of sugar
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chunked
  • 10 mushrooms, halved
  • 1 large chorizo, cubed
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 3 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp of flour
  • 8 leaves of fresh basil, shredded

Serving suggestion: pasta, rice, or potatoes


1.       Preheat oven to 140 degrees
2.       Get a large casserole dish on the heat, add the beef and the flour and stir until you have floury beef chunks.
3.       Add the oil, and get you heat on high, brown off the meat.
4.       Then add the garlic, carrots and mushroom, thyme and bay leaves.
5.       Add the tomato puree and the balsamic vinegar and stir to combine for a few minutes to get a good colour going.
6.       Add the tin of tomatoes, and then fill the tin with water and add that water too.
7.       Bring to the boil.
8.       Put a lid on the dish and put into the oven for 2 hours
9.       After the two hours are up, take the lid off for 15 minutes and put back into the oven to thicken the sauce
10.   Add the shredded basil and serve with rice, potatoes or pasta.

The result of this method of cooking results in melt in your mouth beef, no knife required.

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