This post is sponsored by Nuffnang
If you’ve been following along here you might have been around for Meat Free May last year. We went from a fairly low red-meat-eating base (about twice a week) to zero for a month, for primarily ecological reasons.
I was pregnant with baby number three, Ivy, and after May, I continued not eating meat. I found I couldn’t. Adam hoped like mad that I’d get back into it after the baby was born, but as I had flirted with vegetarianism since I was a teenager, he didn’t hold out hope.
Once Ivy was born, and breastfeeding was in full swing however, nothing could keep me away from roast beef. Or a good sausage. Or a lovely roasted free range chicken.
Which means I gave Meat Free May 2011 a lot of thought.
And there are three more issues.
- Adam and I intend, sometime soon, to become primary producers. Probably Beef. Maybe goats. Definitely chickens. Meat Free May seems a little odd in this context.
- We’ve begun buying organic beef direct from a farmer, and it’s simply amazing. I can’t recommend this purchasing method highly enough. If you’re in the city it’s worth the drive, I promise. You can contact your local food co-op and see if they have contacts, you can google ‘meat from the farm’ and append your local area, or if you’re in coo-ee of the Illawarra contact these guys
- I have no intention of withholding meat from my rapidly growing hale and hearty ten month old. She loves it. And let’s not get started on the four and six year olds. They abstained relatively well last year, but I was driven by a deep inability to stomach meat at all and so whining fell on deaf ears. This year: if there’s no bacon for a month I think there’ll be a highly organised mutiny (possibly led by Adam).
So at the risk of dismaying vegetarian readers, I’m posting my first meat-based recipe in a long while.
Simple Beef Casserole.
It’s from here and very similar to a stew I make regularly in the slow cooker on swimming lesson days. I love the addition of zucchini dumplings for this recipe – I‘d never thought of those.
It is also an out-and-out Ivy favourite. We eat it one night and whiz up the leftovers and freeze portions for her. She loves it. It’s quick to make, nutritious and high in iron and protein. Perfect.
Simple Beef Casserole
800g beef rump or chuck steak, trimmed of fat, cut into 3cm cubes (I used blade this week)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled, cut into 2cm pieces
2 tbsp plain flour
400g canned diced tomatoes
2 large potatoes, peeled, diced
For the dumplings:
1 cup self-raising flour
30g of margarine or butter
1 medium zucchini, grated
1/3 cup milk
1. Heat a large saucepan and add half of the oil. Add onion and carrot. Cook for 5 mins or until soft.
2. Meanwhile, heat a non-stick frying pan. Toss beef with remaining oil and cook in batches over high heat until browned. Add to saucepan with onion mixture.
3. Add flour, tomatoes, ½ cup of water and potatoes. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1½ hours.
4. For dumplings: Sift flour into bowl and rub in margarine until mixture is crumbly. Stir in the zucchini. Add milk and mix to a soft dough. Knead gently. Divide into 12 portions and form into rough balls (This make 12 very large dumplings or 24 small. I’d recommend smaller for kids.) Place dumplings on top of casserole for the final 15 mins of cooking. Cover and cook for 15 mins or until dumplings are risen and cooked.
(Excellent with a small Shiraz.)