First of all, please let me apologise for the lack of posts over the past few weeks. My Grand Mother passed away and we buried her on Saturday. As the oldest grand daughter it was up to me to do quite a bit of the organising and I haven’t had a chance to even sit down never mind think about the blog.
We had a traditional wake, with an open casket and many friends, neighbours and family members were coming through the door to pay their respects from morning until late at night and so to keep everyone fed I made my grannys recipe for stew. It was actually a real comfort to everyone to be eating something that she made herself every weekend and in a weird way made it feel like she was around, and I thought I’d share the recipe.
600g / 1 lb Lean Steak Mince
300g / 1/2 lb of either pork mince, or lamb mince depending on your preference (you can replace the meat with soya mince or quorn should you choose to, just make sure the mixture stays well hydrated during cooking)
2 grated carrots
1 grated onion
12 good sized potatoes (I prefer waxy varieties in this stew, i think she did too)
4 oxo cubes
salt and pepper
First step, peel and halve the potatoes and leave to sit in a bowl of water while you prepare the other ingredients. Grate the carrots and the onion, and place in a big stew pot. Take the beef mince, and rinse in a sieve or collander – it sounds weird, but it breaks up the texture of the meat and really helps the meat coat the potatoes later on. Do the same with either your pork or lamb mince and add all the meat to the stew pot. Cover the meat and vegetables with enough water to cover all the ingredients, and place on a medium to high heat.
Add the oxo cubes (now, I know purists will be appalled at this addition but Granny lived through the blitz and products like oxo cubes helped people through rationing – it’s her recipe and so it is completely unnecessary to add properly made beef stock!) and season alot with salt and pepper. Stir and wait until you see the first bubbles of a rolling boil, and reduce the heat to the lowest you can. Give the mixture another stir and add the drained potatoes on top of the meat and veg – DO NOT STIR! Put the lid on the pot and leave for 1 1/2 hours at the lowest heat setting.
Come back to it after this time, and take a look at the potatoes. Do they seem soft? If not, give them another ten minutes or until they are. If they are soft, start to use a big spatula or metal spoon to split the potato pieces in half, then half again. Crush some with the back of the spoon, and leave some whole. The idea of this is to thicken the stew with some of the crushed potato, but to leave potato chunks in the stew also, adding to the texture.
Put the lid on again, and let it sit for about twenty minutes, or just heat it up when you want a bowl. The beauty of the stew is that it tastes better the longer you leave it. Everyone ate it with gusto, sometimes adding HP sauce if they wanted too but always making stew sandwiches with thick slices of white bread covered in butter.
A self styled foodie at my grandmothers wake came over as I was making it, screwed her nose up and said “Are you not adding any herbs or wine or something?” That’s not the point of the stew. The stew is subtle in flavour; it’s honest. And it always tasted like it had been made by someone who really loved you.
I’ll miss you granny 🙂