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How to Cook Meat Casseroles

By: Margaret Paxton - Updated: 24 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
How To Cook Meat Casseroles

This slow-cooking method is ideal for less expensive cuts of meat to provide a satisfying and tasty meal.

Beef Goulash for 4

  • 900g chuck steak
  • 450g peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 50g beef dripping or lard
  • 30fl oz beef stock or water
  • 60g tomato puree
  • 4 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoons plain flour
  • 60g soured cream

Trim fat and gristle from the meat and cut into cubes (about 3.5cm chunks.) Melt the dripping or lard in a deep, heavy based pan and fry the onions and meat together over moderate heat until the onions have softened and the meat has browned on the outside.

Heat the stock in a separate pan then pour this over the meat and onions (or add boiling water if used instead) and season with a little salt. Bring this to simmering point.

In a small bowl mix the tomato puree, caster sugar, paprika and flour to form a smooth paste. Use a ladle to transfer some of the hot liquid to the puree paste and stir well.

Remove the pan with the meat and onions from the heat and stir in the tomato puree mixture. Blend this in thoroughly then return pan to the heat and bring back up to simmering point. Cover with a lid and cook over gentle heat for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender.

When the goulash is ready, blend a ladle of the liquid with the soured cream then transfer to the pan, stir in gently and remove pan from heat. Serve with boiled potatoes or ribbon noodles.

Lamb Casserole for 4. Preheat oven to 220C.

  • 1.4k middle neck of lamb
  • 450g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 3 leeks, trimmed, washed and chopped
  • 225g whole carrots, washed (and scraped if necessary)
  • 450ml stock
  • 450g tin haricot or cannellini beans
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1 bay leaf and half a teaspoon of dried thyme

Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole dish and brown the lamb all over. Sprinkle the sugar over the lamb and keep the ingredients moving until the sugar begins to caramelise. Add a little salt and pepper then add half the flour. Place this in the hot oven for 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven, turn the meat over and add more salt and pepper and the remaining flour. Put this back in the oven for another 5 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 180C. Remove casserole from the oven and lift out the meat. Gently fry the leeks in the casserole dish on the hob for 2-3 minutes, then add the stock and bring to the boil. Put the meat back in and now add the tomatoes, carrots, garlic and herbs. Cover the dish and bring to simmering point.

Place the dish back in the oven and cook for about one and a half hours, making sure that the meat remains almost covered by the sauce (add more water if necessary.) Add the beans for the final 5 minutes then serve.

Whole chicken, loin or neck cutlets of venison, hare, older game birds, breast and neck cutlets of veal are also suitable for casseroling like the lamb in this recipe. One of the most important things is to brown the meat before cooking it slowly with enough liquid to nearly cover it and use a bed of vegetables to add flavour and colour.

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