Beef and gnocchi casserole

I’m going through a bit of a gnocchi phase at the minute, and I’m particularly enjoying exploring different ways to use it. Here it’s taking the place of diced potatoes in a rich and hearty stew that’s totally inappropriate for the current temperature, but absolutely delicious nonetheless.

Aside from the gnocchi and the beef, all but one ingredient is cheap produce or stuff I keep in my store cupboard: red wine. I don’t often drink at home, least not red wine, so I picked up a single-serving bottle of merlot from ASDA for £1.75 and poured the whole thing in.

There’s enough to feed four easily, and would pair especially well with great hunks of crusty sourdough smeared with salted butter.

Full disclosure: the beef I used when making this was on the Whoops! counter and set me back a mere £1.85. On reflection, I didn’t cook it for nearly long enough, so I’ve adjusted the recipe below accordingly.

As I continually fail to learn, cheap cuts of beef need very long cooking at low temperatures, so if you’re making this I’d suggest it’s best for snowy, wintry Saturdays spent nesting at home.

Serves: 4

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 3-4 hours

Ingredients: 

  • 400g diced beef
  • 500g gnocchi
  • 500g passata
  • Red wine
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 leek, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 celery sticks, diced
  • 1tsp garlic paste
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 1tsp table salt
  • Bay leaves
  • Two sprigs rosemary, finely chopped

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven the 160C.
  2. In a frying pan, seal the beef in a little oil to brown. Once coloured, remove from the pan and place into a lidded casserole dish.
  3. In the same frying pan, add the onion, leek, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook for a few minutes, stirring regularly, until softened and lightly coloured. Transfer into the casserole dish. Then use a little hot water to deglaze the frying pan and add to the dish.
  4. Tip in the wine, passata, salt, stock cube and herbs, and at least a pint of hot water. Stir to combine all the ingredients, and pop into the oven with the lid on.
  5. After about 2 hours, remove the lid and allow the sauce to start reducing. Give it a good stir, then check it every 45 minutes or so from this point on, and add more water if it’s getting too thick.
  6. About 10 minutes before serving, add the gnocchi and stir through. Place back in the oven and wait, salivatingly, for deliciousness to happen.
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