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A warming, satisfying dinner that’s packed with nutrients from the beef and root vegetables – perfect for the first weeks after the birth.

Ingredients

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For the stew

  • 4 carrots, chop 2 into thick rounds, dice the other 2 (if organic no need to peel first, but wash thoroughly before chopping)
  • 1½ white onions, roughly chopped
  • 1kg beef stewing steak
  • 2 leeks, roughly chopped
  • 1½ red peppers, roughly chopped
  • 300g Portobello mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 2 large handfuls of kale, torn or roughly chopped
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 20g dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in 300ml water, then finely chopped
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 3-4 tablespoons plain or brown rice flour
  • 2tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the baked swede & squash

  • ½ a small swede, cut into 3cm cubes
  • ½ a butternut squash, cut into 3cm cubes (you can buy ready-cubed)
  • 1tbsp rapeseed oil
  • Salt, pepper and chilli flakes to taste

Method

For the stew

  1. Start by taking the beef out of the refrigerator and letting it come to room temperature (about 40 mins to an hour).
  2. Preheat your oven to 170°C/150° fan/Gas 3.
  3. Dry the beef well with a piece of kitchen roll. On a plate, use a flour duster to coat the cubes in brown rice flour, shaking any excess off.
  4. In a large ovenproof casserole dish (a cast iron one is ideal), heat up the rapeseed oil until very hot but not smoking.
  5. Throw the cubes of beef in and brown on all sides, this should take a few minutes. You may need to do this in batches due to the amount of beef. Set the browned beef on a few layers of kitchen roll to de-grease and set aside.
  6. Soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in 250 ml boiling water.
  7. Chop your vegetables (you can use a mandolin for the carrot rounds). Set aside the pepper, mushrooms and kale as these will be added to the stew later.
  8. Sauté the garlic, onions, and diced carrots for 5-6 min. Then return the beef to the casserole dish.
  9. Pour over the chopped tomatoes and add the chopped leeks, carrot rounds, chicken stock, and the liquid from the soaked shiitake mushrooms. Top with rosemary, thyme and 2 bay leaves. Ensure the beef and vegetables are completely covered with liquid, add more stock if needed, then cover the dish with a secure lid.
  10. Pop in your pre-heated oven for 3½ hrs total cooking time.
  11. 30 minutes before you are ready to take it out and serve, add the peppers, mushrooms and kale. This insures tasty but not mushy vegetables. Add some water if it is looking a bit dry.
  12. Remove from the oven and serve with the baked swede and squash.
  13. Finish with a squeeze of half a lemon. You can easily just cut the lemon in half and squeeze over clean hands to catch the pips.

Notes: Here the key is long and slow, this is what gives the meat a melt-in-your-mouth texture. The other tip is to make sure that everything is covered in liquid and that the stew does not dry out during the cooking; if you add your stock and the veggies and meat are still not covered add a bit of water.

For the baked swede & squash

  1. Pre heat oven to 200°C/180° fan/Gas 6.
  2. Add 1 tbsp of rapeseed oil in to the roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper and add the chopped vegetables. Mix thoroughly so the oil is evenly coated on to the vegetables.
  3. Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden brown.

Watch this video to see Fig & Bloom’s nutritional therapist talk about the three key nutrients in this dish.

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