Thursday, June 21, 2012

New cookware: a Jamie-inspired road test

My beloved and I were utterly spoilt by our dear friends in honour of our wedding. My (brand new!) brother-in-law and partner surprised us with a shiny cast iron casserole dish (well...kinda surprised us - there were some very audible yearnings for cast iron cookware from yours truly!). Check it out:

Not only was I extremely eager to have a bit of a play with my gift, but Melbourne's dreary weather definitely called for a hearty stew. I browsed the "interwebs" for slow cooked casseroles and came across a Jamie Oliver beef and beer recipe. After a few minor tweaks, I threw together a very easy Jamie-inspired beef and Guinness casserole. The verdict? Love the cookware, love the casserole!

Slow cooked beef and stout casserole
Serves 3-4
500g chuck steak, fat removed and diced into 2cm cubes
500ml Guinness
2 onions
3 carrots
3 sticks celery
400g tin chopped tomatoes
3-4 dried bay leaves
1 Tbs plain flour
a few glugs of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 170ºC.
Chop all vegetables roughly (feel free to incorporate other vegetables into this dish - potatoes and peas would work beautifully).
Place casserole dish on stove top and heat up a few sloshes of oil. 
Add vegetables and bay leaves and fry for 8 minutes. 

Add meat and flour and continue to cook for an additional 3-5 minutes.
Pour in wet ingredients (i.e. beer and tinned tomatoes) and season well.
Bring to the boil (check out that nice beery foam on top!).

Place lid on casserole dish and remove from stove top.
Cook in oven for 2 hours and 45 minutes. 
Meanwhile, you can do all sorts of interesting things. I chose to spend the time playing with this little fella.

Remove from oven. In a moment of panic, fear that casserole is burnt, but then discover that the dark bits are simply really nicely caramelized (phew!).

Serve with your choice of carbs. Couscous was on the menu for us.

Enjoy a delicious, warming winter meal.


  1. Nice one! That brother-in-law is a culinary genius! A true beacon of inspiration in this dark struggle called life.

    1. Yeah...he's okay, I guess. I was gonna trade him in for a better model, but now I'm not 100% sure... ;)

  2. Oh wow, that casserole looks delicious!!! I have been looking at the Le Creuset cast iron dishes... soooo wanting one of the round casserole dishes. I am just nervous that I won't quite know what to do with it! My kitchen item shopping list is sooo long... eeeeeeeek!

    1. Thanks Laura! It was such a yummy and warming winter dish. You should definitely look to get some cast iron cookware. However, I think Le Creuset products (as beautiful as they are!) are VERY expensive! My colleague today informed me that Aldi are having a sale on cast iron cookware at the moment and you can pick up a casserole dish for around $20....for that price I definitely think it's worthwhile! :)

    2. Just came back from Aldi.... with two cast iron pans. LOL. The regular kind and the shallow one! Keen to give them a go. I thought that if I use them a lot and really like them, then one day I will get the Le Creuset ones.

    3. Fantastic, Laura! I went yesterday and picked up a cast iron oven tray, fry pan and French pan - a little over the top, I know, but couldn't help it for the price! We'll have to compare some recipes in the future. I find that lots require a slow cooker, but apparently you can convert slow cooker times to oven times/temperatures...Look forward to hearing how you go with it! :)

  3. The casserole looks FANTASTIC! Just want I need right now. The winter weather is making me not want to get out of bed or out of the house! :(

    1. Ta muchly, Jenny! Totally agree re: feral weather at the moment...made all the more depressing after a loong weekend in sunny Queensland!