One of the best things about the approaching winter is the excuse to eat delicious, warming comfort food – rich casseroles, stodgy desserts and hearty soups. Every cook needs a repertoire of casserole recipes, they’re just so rewarding to cook: simple, nutritious and convenient to prepare in advance. They work for simple family suppers or more sophisticated dinner parties and many tick the ‘one pot cooking’ box, meaning that if you use an attractive oven to tableware type pan, there’s very little washing up!
Beef casserole recipes
Tougher beef cuts are at their best when stewed long and slow. Even beginners can’t mess up simple beef casserole recipes like this one, with most of the hard work done by your oven.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 150g bacon lardons
- 6-8 shallots, peeled and left whole
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 3 carrots, cut into medium sized chunks
- 1.5kg stewing beef or chuck steak in 3cm cubes
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- 500ml beef stock
- 250ml red wine
- Grated zest of half an orange
- 4 fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Preheat the oven to 160ºC. Heat the oil in a large, heat proof casserole dish on a medium heat and cook the bacon for a couple of minutes. Add the onion, garlic and carrot and cook for another 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the beef and then stir in the flour to coat. Add the stock, wine, orange zest, thyme and bay leaves and bring to the boil. Cover and transfer to the oven for three hours, stirring occasionally. To serve, scatter with the parsley and season to taste. Best with mashed potatoes, French beans and crusty bread to soak up the delicious gravy.
This recipe also makes a great pie filling. It’s easy to create variations on this theme, by changing up the herbs, adding different flavouring or adding some root vegetables.
Chicken casserole recipes
Chicken lends itself well to a number of more exotic and sophisticated casserole recipes. This tagine is subtly spicy and sweet.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 8 chicken drumsticks
- Half a teaspoon each of ground coriander, cumin, paprika and cinnamon
- 75g dried apricots, finely chopped
- 40g raisins
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 75g couscous
- 1 tablespoon fresh coriander
Heat the oil in a heat proof casserole and brown the drumsticks. Stir in the spices and cook out the rawness for a minute or two. Add the apricots, raisins, tinned tomatoes, 400ml water, some seasoning and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the couscous, stir and simmer for another five minutes until the chicken and couscous are cooked. Serve sprinkled with the chopped fresh coriander.