Feb 11th, 2023


When I was a child my favourite food was my mother’s casserole. It was essentially a beef stew with carrots and onions, topped with potatoes and slow cooked in the oven. My only problem with it as a child was that I could never get enough – for some reason Mum never made enough for a really big second helping.

I recreated the dish for myself, R and the plumber who was replacing the boiler at the time! It was pretty good even if I say so myself.

Take 1lb of stewing steak and brown off on a high heat with one large chopped onion. This should be done an oven and hob compatible casserole dish. Peel and slice a couple of large carrots and add to pot. Cover with boiling water, bring to boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and leave it to cook for about 2 and a half hours. Give the meat a taste to make sure it is tender and then add Bisto made up to a thick half a pint (about 4 heaped tsps). Give everything a good stir.

I think my Mum used to peel the potatoes and then put them uncooked over the meat – but I don’t peel them and I do par boil them (for 8 minutes or so) before thickly slicing them and covering the meat with a double layer. Then pop into a good hot oven for about 45 minutes until the potatoes are brown and crispy. Yum.

My mother did have one disaster with this dish though. My Grandma (Dad’s Mum) used to make a variant of the dish which contained black pudding. Mum did not get on with her that well but was always out to try to please the rather disagreeable old woman so she bought a black pudding to add to the dish. Unfortunately, she didn’t realize that this particular pudding was in a plastic outer casing which you were supposed to remove before cooking. She just chopped it up with the casing on, and when the hotpot came out, everything was coated with a vaguely luminous blue/green glaze. No one apart from me ate it but it tasted just fine – it was the only occasion when I got to eat as much casserole as I wanted.