Beef and Mushroom Stew

This stew really does look after itself. The beef is simmered slowly to produce the most delicious stock, which gives a really glossy, well-flavoured sauce. If using a pressure cooker, cook the stew for 50 minutes. You can also add a bay leaf, orange peel, fresh thyme or Worcester sauce to help liven up the other flavours.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients: Cooking oil; 2lb (900g) stewing steak, cut into 1 1/2 in (4cm) cubes; 3 onions, sliced; 1 garlic clove, crushed; 2 glasses red wine (about 8 fl oz/250ml); 1 lb (450g) button mushrooms; 1· packet Crosse & Blackwell Bonne Cuisine Madeira Wine Gravy or White wine Gravy; Salt and pepper

* Heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry half the steak for a few minutes to seal. Repeat with the rest and set aside.
* Place the onions, garlic and red wine in a large pan and boil until reduced by half. Add the sautéed steak and 2 pints (1.2 litres) water, bring to a gentle simmer, then cover and cook for 1 hour. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 30-40 minutes. You could also add some sliced carrot and celery to the stew at this stage.
* When beef is tender, mix gravy powder with a little water until smooth. Stir in and simmer for 5 minutes. If sauce is too thin, boil and reduce. Season to taste and serve.

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