Slow cooked beef using Madeira wine instead of red tastes fab. Dried porcini mushrooms are pricey, but worth adding to the casserole for a lovely rich flavour – and a hint of orange makes it truly festive.


4 red onions, sliced

4tbsp olive oil

1kg stewing steak, cubed

4 garlic cloves, crushed

30g dried porcini

600ml Madeira wine

2 x 400g cans tomato

4tbsp sundried tomato paste

Zest and juice 1orange

500ml beef stock

2tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1kg baby chantenay carrots, trimmed

Several sprigs thyme

1 Heat the oven to 180C, Gas 4. Fry the onion with the oil in a large flameproof casserole for 5 mins, to soften. Season the steak generously with salt and ground black pepper, add to the onions and fry for 10 mins, turning as needed until browned.

2 Pour 100ml boiling water over the dried porcini and leave for 10 mins, to soften, then pour the mushrooms and liquid into the pan with the Madeira, tomatoes, tomato paste, orange juice and zest, beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, carrots and thyme. Bring to the boil, cover and cook in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.

TO FREEZE: Cool completely. Put into a sealable container and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in fridge. Warm through in an ovenproof dish at 200C, Gas 6 for 45 mins until piping hot.

FOOD ED TIP: Stir in 3tbsp thickening granules, when warming through if you prefer thick gravy.