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John Quigley.

Byline: John Quigley

THE kitchen is the best room in the house in winter. It's warm, welcoming and filled with great aromas.

On cold dark nights there is no finer smell than the waft of meat coming from the oven.

The words braise, slow roast and simmer sound soothing, but unfortunately slow cooking is regarded as a luxury in a hectic world.

Stewing or braising are simple but effective ways of cooking meat.

Braising, like pot-roasting, usually applies to a whole piece of meat that is browned first and then cooked in a little liquid.

Stew is more usually chopped-up meat cooked with stock, water or wine just enough to cover the food.

How much meat you use depends largely on appetite. I find it difficult when giving a recipe to balance portions that will suit a hungry student and a not-so-hungry pensioner.

I think 6-8oz per person is a good guide. If a recipe says serve four to six it gives you the chance to size up the appetites and make your own judgments. No matter whether you are braising or stewing, the meat is gently simmered in the tasty stock to produce succulent juices that will warm up the coldest of days.

Prime cuts stewed to melting tenderness re-heat even better the next day.

Braised beef in red wine

with shallots, bacon and mushroom (serves 4-6)

2lb stewing steak, preferably shoulder

16 small shallots peeled

1/2lb button mushrooms

6oz streaky bacon, cut into small pieces

flour

1pt red wine

1pt beef stock

2 large carrots, coarsely chopped

2 large onions, coarsely chopped

large sprig thyme

2tbsp treacle

Method

Lightly flour meat, heat oil in a large heavy stewing pan or casserole dish. Brown meat in hot oil in small batches, remove and drain. Add red wine and thyme, bring to boil. Add beef stock, bring to boil, add browned beef, carrots and onions. Put lid on and simmer for minimum 90 mins, Gas 4. In separate pan heat 2tbsp vegetable oil, add shallots, cook over medium heat for 10- 12 mins until tender, add bacon and mushrooms and fry until bacon crisps.

Divide stew between plates, sprinkle with shallots, bacon and mushroom mix. Serve with mashed potatoes.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 24, 2002
Words:370
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