Beef casserole

This beef casserole is the starting point to which nearly any vegetable can be changed or adapted to personal preferences.  Adding a can of beans or lentils will make the meat go further.  The beef can be swapped for pork or lamb.  For something different add raw quinces to the casserole.

For the principals of How to Make a Casserole or Stew read my step-by-step post here.

When I made the two casseroles for this video I served both casseroles for a family gathering and asked them to choose their favourite casserole, the one with the browning of the meat or the one without browning?  The result was that some members preferred the casserole without the browning of the meat better.  This proves for me that the simpler  ‘throw-it-all-in’ method is just as good, and if faffing with browning is not your thing, skip it.



Beef casserole
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-5
Pre-heat oven 170˚C fan /190˚C/ 375˚F / gas 5.
  • 1kg / 2.2 lbs beef for casserole or stew cut into large chunks
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons oil (or half oil and half butter)
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 3 large carrots peeled roughly chopped
  • 4-5 large mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 2 large leeks, washed well, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 4-5 dried mushrooms (shiitake or porcini are packed with umami flavour)
  • 500-700ml / 2-3 cups water or good beef stock (or half of each)
  • 1½ - 2 teaspoon of fine salt
  • ½ teaspoosfreshly ground black pepper
See the video if wanting to brown the meat first.
  1. On a low heat, heat the oil in a large casserole pan and add the chopped onion. To the onion add the bayleaf and thyme, stir it now and again and cook the onion until soft and beginning to colour, about 5mins.
  2. Add the chopped garlic stir for 30seconds, add in the tomato puree and stir again for another 20seconds.
  3. Add the beef, carrots, salt, pepper, shiitake mushrooms, water or stock, stir well. Bring casserole to the boiling point, cover the pan and place in middle shelf of the pre-heated oven for 1 hour.
  4. Take casserole out and stir, taste to see if seasoning needs adjusting, the meat will look cooked but still be hard. Put the casserole back in the oven for another 30mins.
  5. Take casserole out and add the chopped mushroom and leeks stir them in well, if the casserole is looking dry add a little water or stock. Put the casserole back in the oven for another 30mins.
If using skirt steak it can take as much as 3hrs to cook, in which case don't add the the mushrooms or leeks until the last 30-40mins.
If you want to make this a one pot dish add large chunks of peeled potatoes in the last 40mins of cooking and add 250ml (1 cup water), ¼ teaspoon salt.