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Simple beef and vegetable casserole

Ingredients: 

2 celery sticks, thinly sliced 

1 large onion, chopped 

1 large carrots, halved lengthways then thickly sliced 

5 bay leaves 

2 thyme sprigs, 1 whole and 1 with leaves picked (1 teaspoon dried) 

1 tablespoon vegetable oil 

2 tablespoons plain flour 

2 tablespoons tomato puree 

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 

2 beef stock cubes, crumbled up or  

2 pounds beef, cut into large chunks 

Instructions: 

Begin by heating the oven to 320 degrees and boiling two and a half cups of water. Next, place the thickly sliced celery sticks, chopped onion, thickly sliced carrot chunks, bay leaves, and whole thyme sprig into an oven proof casserole dish with the tablespoon of vegetable oil and tablespoon of butter.  

Once all the ingredients are placed in the casserole dish, allow it to sit for approximately 10 minutes then stir in the two tablespoons of plain flour. Stir it together until you don’t see the flour anymore and it doesn’t look dusty. Then, add the tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, and beef stock cubes that you crumbled up. 

Once you have mixed all those ingredients together, gradually stir in the two and half cups of hot water, then add in the beef chunks. Allow everything to come to a simmer with the boiling water.  

Next, cover the dish with aluminum foil and place it in the oven for two and a half hours. At the two-and-a-half-hour mark, remove the foil and cook it for an additional 30 to an hour minutes uncovered or until the meat is tender and the sauce has thickened.  

Remove the casserole from the oven and garnish it with the remaining thyme leaves.  

Serve hot and enjoy! 

Commentary: 

As the weather has taken a turn for the worse and gotten even colder, this casserole is the perfect dish to make to stay warm. The beef and vegetable casserole can be eaten alone, or served like stew over mashed potatoes, rice, or with a thick, crusty bread. This casserole is fairly simple to make, but if you don’t have any of the ingredients specifically, they are easy to substitute. If you do not have beef stock cubes, you can use two cups of beef broth. If you use the broth, it is not necessary to add boiling water to the dish. If you don’t have Worcestershire sauce you can substitute it with balsamic vinegar, soy sauce with sugar, or BBQ sauce. 

You can also add various ingredients to suit your tastes for this casserole. If you prefer a heartier casserole, you can add potatoes, chopped tomatoes, or dumplings to the dish. You can also add other vegetables you may enjoy eating such as mushrooms and garlic for stock and flavor. If you enjoy a bit of a bite in your casserole, I would recommend adding a teaspoon of mild chili or paprika and add until you like it. 

Lastly, if you don’t have a casserole dish, just use a large saucepan in place of the casserole and follow the cooing times and instructions on the recipe but on the stove. 

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