Cook Once Eat Twice recipes are one of my specialities. I can do the majority of the work on the first night and then get away with a little light tweaking and re-heating on the second. There really is something lovely about knowing that dinner is sitting in the fridge, just waiting to be heated up and enjoyed.
The Mediterranean beef is cooked slowly at a low heat for two to two and a half hours. This makes it meltingly tender, and although I’ve called this a Cook Once Eat Twice recipe, there’s actually several ways you can serve it. One the first night I generally serve the stew with pasta for a hearty Italian style dinner. On the second night you can serve the remainder of the Mediterranean Beef as a stew with mashed potatoes, rice or couscous, or you can slice up some French or Italian bread for garlic toasts and make a cheat’s pot pie. I just love the way the crispy, salty garlic bread tastes with the savory beef and vegetables – it’s serious comfort food.
This is one of those recipes that improves with keeping for a day or two, giving you lots of flexibility. Using cheaper cuts of beef like chuck, stewing or braising steak is more economical and cooking them slowly in the oven means that your house smells lovely. Although these are homey comfort food style dishes, they are delicious enough to serve company and the recipe goes a long way. Depending on age and appetite, you can serve four to six people each night and it’s easy to bulk things out a bit with salad and hot rolls with the pasta and green vegetables alongside the pot pie. If you have seriously hearty appetites you could serve potatoes with the pot pie too.
- 2 to 3 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
- 2 pounds (approximately 1 kg) chuck steak, braising or stewing steak, cubed
- 2 generous tablespoons of flour
- a generous pinch of salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 red peppers, de-seeded and cut in roughly one inch pieces
- 2 medium eggplant, cubed
- ½ cup beef stock
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 cups passata (sieved tomatoes) or tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato puree or paste
- 2 cups button mushrooms, cut in half
- 2 small zucchini (courgettes), cut in slices about half an inch thick
- For the Pasta
- 1 pound (16 ounces) of penne pasta (or other pasta shapes)
- For the Pot Pie
- 1 small day old baguette or half an Italian bread loaf cut in thick slices
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon dried chives or parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).
- Using a large casserole or Dutch oven suitable for stove top and oven use, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil on the stove top over medium heat.
- Meanwhile, mix together the flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl or on a plate.
- Coat the cubed beef in the flour mixture.
- Brown the meat in the oil, turning to make sure all sides of the cubes are browned. You may need to do this in batches. Add more oil if necessary. Remove the beef cubes as they are browned and keep warm.
- Add a bit more of the oil to the casserole or Dutch oven and sauté the onion until it begins to soften.
- Grate in the garlic cloves and add the red peppers and cubed eggplant.
- Sauté until the vegetables begin to pick up a bit of colour.
- Return the beef to the pan and stir in the beef stock, oregano, passata or tomato sauce and the tomato puree or paste.
- Put the lid on the casserole and place it in the oven for an hour.
- After an hour, remove the casserole from the oven and stir in the button mushrooms and the zucchini.
- Put the lid back on and return the casserole to the oven for an hour to an hour and a half, stirring every half hour.
- When the beef is fork tender and the vegetables are cooked through, the stew is done.
- On the first day, cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to package directions. Drain and mix with half the stew. Serve in warmed bowls with hot rolls and salad if desired.
- Cool any leftover stew and refrigerate promptly.
- For the Pot Pie, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C)
- Transfer the remaining stew to a large open casserole dish and heat in the oven until hot and bubbly, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, grate the garlic clove into the melted butter and stir in the dried chives or parsley, salt and pepper.
- When the stew is hot, remove it from the oven and arrange the bread slices on top of the stew.
- Brush the bread with the garlic butter.
- Return the casserole to the oven and cook until the garlic bread is golden brown.
- Serve with a green vegetable and potatoes if desired.
Shared with Full Plate Thursday