Skirt and Mushroom Stew

I love skirt steak and often get up early to be one of the first at my Farmer’s Sunday Market (close to Edensor Road, off the 316 to Richmond to buy it. generally have several pieces, usually about 500g apiece, bagged up sous vide style ready for the freezer. Skirt needs to be cooked fast (oiled griddled on very hot pan, seasoned and rested before slicing) or slow. It wouldn’t be my first choice for a beef stew but because I often have some in my deep freeze, it often is. This way of stewing gives wonderful results. It’s quick and easy to prepare, incredibly rich and luscious and highly recommended. I like it with mash and carrots, or peas, or both but I sometimes serve it with roast potatoes or chips.

Serves 2, very generously

Prep: 30 min

Cook: 90 min, possibly longer

500g skirt steak

flour for dusting

4 tbsp vegetable oil

1 large onion

2 large, flat/Portobello mushrooms

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (preferably Belazu)

150ml red wine

250ml chicken stock

     Slice the steak in 2cm wide strips and dust lavishly with flour. Brown the floured steak in batches in hot oil in a spacious frying pan – starting with 2 tbsp oil, you may need more or less but will need some for cooking the onions and mushrooms. While the meat browns, slice or finely chop a large onion and soften for a few minutes in a little more oil in a frying pan until beginning to soften and brown. Return all the steak to its pan when done, add the balsamico and wine, season with salt and pepper and stir vigorously as the liquid bubbles up and knocks the flour off the meat. Add the stock, reduce the heat, stir to amalgamate, cooking for 5 minutes. Transfer the pan contents to a Le Creuset-type ovenproof casserole. Slice a couple of large mushrooms thickly, halve the slices and soften in the onions. They will suck all the oily juices out of the pan but keep going until they darken, look moist and juicy. Stir pan contents into the meat, drape a piece of parchment over the top, pushing down to touch the food but leaving an overhang that will be held in place by the lid. Trim excess paper. Bake at 150C, checking the meat is very soft after 60 minutes. Depending on the meat, it may need longer, possibly another hour. Eat now, leave in cooling oven til later or re-heat the next day (when it will be even better.