beef stew


Main ingredients
Beef, tomatoes

This stew is a good example of how you can fling everything together in 15 minutes and forget about it while it’s cooking. Experiment with ingredients: you may want to include caraway seeds or chilli paste or chutney, for example. The variations are endless, I have added meaty mushrooms on this occasion. Ensure that the paprika you use is of top quality – my favourite is Spanish, sold in a small square tin. It makes all the difference to the flavour of the dish.


  • 5 kg chuck steak, cut into large cubes, or blade steak
  • 60 g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons paprika, best quality
  • 400 g can peeled tomatoes, in juice
  • 1 glass white wine, or red wine
  • 1 cup stock, or water
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 celery stick, finely sliced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 180°C. Roll beef in flour mixed with paprika (easiest to do in a plastic bag). Put into a lidded casserole dish that will hold ingredients comfortably with not too much extra space. Whizz tomatoes and their juice in a food processor, or crush roughly with a wooden spoon, and add to meat. Add remaining ingredients to casserole and stir. The meat should be almost covered by liquid. Press a piece of baking paper over contents and cover with lid. Cook in oven, undisturbed, for 2 hours. Taste for seasoning. Check if meat is tender and cook longer if necessary. Offer stew with a bowl of yoghurt and maybe a small bowl of sliced pickled dill cucumbers.

Credit: Stephanie Alexander