Great Ocean Food: Footy finals and casseroles

October 29, 2020 BY

It may have been an unusual time and venue for this year’s Grand Final, but the wintery weather we associate with AFL football has certainly persisted in 2020.

As many have observed, what a bizarre year we are having. Sadly, the result was more a case of status quo. All credit must be given to the boys wearing the blue and white hoops. Being away from family and friends for such an extended time must have been difficult, particularly when so unpredictable. That said, I would have enjoyed being stranded in Noosa this winter. Instead we have endured the virus, the cold, biting southerlies and the rain.

At least the later has produced a good season for our farmers. The countryside looks fabulous and with more wet weather predicted this spring, we should have bountiful crops and beautiful spring lamb and beef. I am looking forward to the close of this year but am determined to make the most of whatever comes our way. For example, this dreary weather and “confinement to barracks” is perfect for open fires and hearty casseroles.

I have rarely made so many slow cooked meals and have never devoured such copious amounts of lamb shank soup; so that is a positive. We have also never consumed as much firewood and I am looking forward to some weeks without heating the house. That, of course, is in the future and there is nothing we can do about the weather. In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy the fire, some more hearty casseroles (see recipe following), plenty of red wine and dream of next year’s footy finals. Hopefully, the mighty Cats will be playing in another grand final. With a bit of luck in 2021 it will be played on the last Saturday in September and this time, with the right result.

HEARTY CASSEROLE

Ingredients

• 1 kg beef chuck steak, large cubes
• Half teaspoon sea salt
• Half teaspoon black pepper, ground
• Quarter cup plain fl our
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 onion, fi nely chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• Quarter cup red wine
• 2 cups beef stock
• 1 tin crushed tomatoes
• Half teaspoon dried thyme
• 2 bay leaves
• 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into
bite-sized chunks
• 2 carrots, cut into bite-sized chunks
• 1 parsnip, cut into bite-sized chunks
• Half cup frozen peas
• Quarter cup fresh parsley, chopped

Method

Dust the meat with plain fl our, salt and pepper. In heavy based casserole pot, heat oil, add the meat and brown. Set aside. Preheat oven to 150°C. Sauté the onion with a little more oil until softened. Add the garlic and sauté́ for another thirty seconds, then add the beef and juices, wine, tinned tomatoes, stock, thyme, and bay leaves. Add more broth if needed to mostly cover the beef. Bring to a simmer, cover, and place in the oven for an hour. Remove and add the potatoes, carrots, and parsnip to the pot and return to oven for another hour or until meat is tender. Remove from the oven, add peas and return to the oven for another ten minutes. Season with salt and pepper, discard bay leaves and garnish with fresh parsley

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