This is adapted from a popular Finnish dish called Karelian stew, which uses a few different types of meat in the same pot, giving it a special flavour. It is a very simply cooked dish — rustic and wintery and quite undemanding. You could add a few fresh herbs or other spices if you like, or even try a variety of meats (veal, beef and pork). This has a long, slow cooking time and is sometimes even left in the oven overnight.

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Ingredients

  • 1.5 kg (3 lb 5 oz) piece of lean silverside or topside of beef
  • 2 large carrots, cut into chunks
  • 1 large red onion, cut into quarters
  • about 8 allspice (pimento) berries
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 125 ml (½ cup) pouring (single) cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Method

Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Put all the ingredients except the cream and parsley into a heavy casserole and add about 750 ml (3 cups) water, or enough to come about three-quarters of the way up the side of the meat.

Cover the casserole and bake for about 2 hours, turning the meat over a couple of times until it is really soft. Remove from the oven. Lift out the carrots and onion with a slotted spoon and pass them through the fine disc of a food mill, or purée them. Discard the bay leaf and allspice berries from the casserole. Remove the meat from the casserole and keep warm.

Measure about 750 ml (3 cups) of the cooking liquid and return this with the puréed vegetables to the casserole (you can freeze the leftover cooking broth for another use). Add the cream and the parsley and heat through. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve the meat thickly sliced with a lot of sauce poured over it.

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