I love prawns at this time of year, the hot weather really lends itself to easy food, served at room temperature.
1.5kg prawns, heads removed and shells on
4 tablespoons salt
4 teaspoons coriander seeds
3 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon all spice berries
12 whole cloves
8 black peppercorns
6 bay leaves
Make a bouquet garni with the whole spices, except the peppercorns and bay leaves. Take a large square of muslin, fold over twice to make a smaller square, fill with the spices and tie off with some cotton cooking twine.
Fill a large pan with litres of water.
Cut the lemon in half, squeeze the juice into the pan and add the lemon halves.
Add the peppercorns and bay leaves to the pan.
Add the bouquet garni and bring to the boil. Allow to simmer for 15mins until the water has coloured a little from the spices.
Add the prawns and turn off the heat, cover the pan and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
This is a great meal to pop in the oven in the afternoon and have a delicious dinner come evening.
I always use 2kgs of meat to allow for lots of leftovers, this stew makes an absolutely brilliant pie filling and the boys love a pie!
As I make this gluten free I don’t flour the meat before browning it, instead I thicken with cornflour towards the end. Double check your cornflour if you are cooking for a coeliac, one popular brand here in Australia is made from wheat!!!
Serves 8 and gives leftovers for 14-16 pies, see below.
100mls olive oil
2kgs diced beef, I use blade
300g pancetta, diced
500g mushrooms, halved or quartered
14 large shallots, peeled and broken into bulbs
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
150g tomato paste
750mls red wine
400mls beef stock
bouquet garni, thyme, parsley and rosemary tied with cooking twine
Salt and pepper
6 tablespoons cornflour
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Centigrade.
In a large oven proof pan, I use a 6l casserole, heat the oil over a high heat.
Once the oil is hot, brown the meat in batches, set aside in a large bowl.
Once the beef is all browned and removed add the pancetta and cook until crispy and releasing its fat.
Remove to the bowl with the beef.
Now throw the whole shallots in and brown over a high heat.
Remove and add to the beef bowl.
Lastly throw the mushrooms and garlic into the pan and brown a little.
Return the beef, pancetta and shallots to the pan.
Add the wine, stock, tomato paste and bouquet garni. I tie one end of the bouquet garni string to the pan handle, makes it so much easier to fish it out later!
Season with salt and pepper.
Cover the top of the pan with a piece of baking parchment and top with a lid.
Place the pan in the oven and cook for 4-5 hours.
By this point the meat should be very tender.
In a jug, combine the cornflour and a little water to make a cream like mixture.
Remove the casserole for the oven, while stirring, pour in the cornflour mixture mix until the meat sauce thickens.
Check seasoning and remove bouquet garni.
Serve with spinach or buttered cabbage and potatoes.
This casserole is fabulous in a pie, cook a few extra potatoes when making this meal, cut them up and add them to the meat mixture.
Take pastry sheets, cut to shape, line pie cases, fill, brush edges with beaten egg, top with pastry, seal edges with a fork, trim excess pastry, brush with egg and cut a slit in the lid to allow steam to escape.
At this point I freeze most of the pies and keep a few out for dinner.