The biggest problem with main courses when we’re shooting at home is how to get them out to the lunch hut hot and intact. The beef dish included is brilliant for this. You can make it the day before and reheat it for lunch (it’s better for a night in the fridge), and there’s only one big pot to keep warm. Accompany it with baked potatoes and perhaps some English mustard.
■ 1kg (2.2lb) whole piece of beef chuck or rolled brisket
■ 3 carrots
■ 3 medium parsnips
■ 2 red onions
■ 2 large sticks celery
■ Vegetable oil
■ Salt and pepper
■ 2 cloves garlic, crushed
■ 1⁄2 tsp tomato paste
■ 300ml (101⁄2fl oz) red wine
■ 1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
■ Sprigs rosemary and thyme
■ 500ml (17fl oz) beef stock
You’ll need a large casserole dish or ovenproof pan with a lid. Tie the beef, then peel the vegetables and chop diagonally into chunks. In the hot, oiled pan, brown off the vegetables in batches until golden-brown. Remove from the pan, then season the beef and brown all over (you may need to add some more oil). Set it aside.
Add the crushed garlic to the pan and cook gently for a minute, then add the tomato paste and cook for a further minute. Deglaze the pan with the red wine, then add the redcurrant jelly and stir until dissolved. Return the vegetables to the pan and sit the beef on top. Add the herbs and bring it to a simmer, then cover tightly and cook slowly in the oven at 120°C/250°F/Gas Mark ½ for 2½-3 hours, turning the meat every half hour. After the first hour give the vegetables a stir, too.
When the meat is tender and cooked through, remove it and the vegetables from the pan, add the beef stock to the remaining liquid. Reduce to a coating consistency, then season and return the beef and vegetables to the pan to serve.
If eating at home, set it out on a platter and carve in the dining room. If not, keep the beef warm on the way to the lunch hut by packing the covered pan in a box with plenty of tea towels.