My Mum made this casserole regularly during winter when we were children. I have fond memories of the fall apart beef, thick gravy and crusty on the top and soft on the bottom bread with a mustardy kick. I’m pretty sure the recipe is from Mum’s Joy of Cooking recipe book which is ancient, worn and slightly food splattered (the sign of a well used cook book – never trust one that doesn’t have food spots!). Stuart has grown very fond of this recipe too and it’s a great one to do for a crowd. You can “spin it out” as my Grandma would say by serving it with mashed potato and a pile of steamed vegetables.
I love cooking in my cast iron pot because all the flavour from the different stages of cooking stays in the pot and adds to the finished flavour. It is my favourite way to cook on the weekend, when there is time to set the oven on a medium low heat and allow it to finish the cooking while I read a book. The oven doubles as a heater in our cold stone house, which is even better! I cook a 2kg batch of meat for about 4 hours or so at 160C, with at least 1 hour without the lid on so the gravy has time to reduce. The bread will need at least 30 minutes to toast, be patient, the brown bread crunchy top is what really brings this beautiful casserole together.
You can find the recipe here.