There has been a lot of debate recently about the effects of eating red meat on carbon emissions and global warming, after Oxford university students have voted to ban all beef and lamb from their campus. Our approach here at Helen Browning’s, alongside the Soil Association, is that we need to eat less but better-quality meat. So, we have developed our ‘Good Beef’ range; 100% organic, grass-fed and dairy-bred British beef. As a result, our good beef, reared here at Eastbrook Farm in the heart of the Wiltshire countryside, has a much lower carbon footprint. Beef is also incredibly nutritious; it is naturally rich in protein, a brilliant source of iron, and contains many essential vitamins and minerals (including zinc, potassium, and vitamins B12 and B6).

For the next festive blog post, I am going to be sharing 5 winter warming recipes that all feature our organic diced beef (a product made from Eastbrook Farm’s good beef) and a whole range of seasonal veg. Turnips, mushrooms, carrots, kale, sprouts and more. There’s a wide range of vegetables that are grown over the Winter months that are insanely delicious but also incredibly nutritious. Eating seasonal vegetables that are grown within the UK is an excellent way to lower your food miles and as a result lower your carbon footprint. You can find a wide range of seasonal organic vegetables at our farm shop in Bishopstone (Swindon) that are supplied by Coleshill organic veg and Eastbrook Farm.

So, why not try some of these amazing recipes this Winter? The best of British produce that is amazingly appetising and is grown right on your doorstep… where could you possibly go wrong? All of these recipes have been borrowed and adapted from the AHDB website; for more information about British beef and lamb, take a look here.

Beef, ale and turnip stew with bubble and squeak cakes…

This recipe incorporates our succulent organic diced beef with root veg and mushrooms for a filling stew that packs in the flavour.

Ingredients:

For the stew…

  • 900g organic diced beef from Helen Browning’s
  • 60ml/4tbsp sunflower oil
  • 25g/1oz plain flour
  • Salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • 15ml/1tbsp English mustard powder
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 225g/8oz baby turnips, peeled and halved
  • 225g/8oz mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 300g/10oz carrots, scraped and roughly chopped
  • 600ml/1pint stout or ale
  • 1 x 200g can chopped tomatoes
  • 10ml/2tsp runny honey
  • 1 bay leaf

For the bubble and squeak cakes…

  • 50g/2oz butter
  • 1 large onion, peeled and grated
  • 900g/2lb cooked mashed potatoes
  • 175g/6oz cooked cabbage, finely shredded
  • 30ml/2tbsp sunflower oil
Beef and ale stew with bubble and squeak cakes

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to Gas mark 3, 170°C, 325°F.
  2. Heat the half the oil in a large frying pan under moderate heat. In a large plastic bag add the flour, seasoning and mustard. Add the beef and toss in the seasoned flour.
  3. Cook the beef in batches for 6-8 minutes until brown, turning occasionally. Transfer to a large casserole dish.
  4. In the same frying pan add the remaining oil and cook the onions and turnip for 3-4 minutes until brown. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 2-3 minutes and transfer to the casserole dish with the beef. Add the carrots.
  5. Add the stout or ale, tomatoes, honey and bay leaf. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and cook in the oven or on the hob for 2-3 hours or until the meat is tender.
  6. Meanwhile, 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time for the stew prepare the bubble and squeak cakes; heat the butter in a pan. Add the onion and cook for 5-7 minutes until soft, but not brown. Set aside to cool.
  7. Place the potatoes and cooked spring greens or cabbage in a large bowl. Add the onion and season. Mix thoroughly and shape into 6 firm rounds.
  8. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan and cook the cakes for 3-4 minutes on each side. Drain on absorbent kitchen paper and serve with the stew.

Beef barley and mushroom broth…

Warm yourself up on a cold, blustery Winter’s evening with a hearty broth. This delightful recipe contains cider and pearl barley for a delicious taste.

Ingredients:

  • 675g organic diced beef from Helen Browning’s
  • 2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
  • 200ml cider
  • 1.4L good, hot vegetable stock
  • 1.4L good, hot beef stock
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 100g pearl barley, rinsed
  • 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
  • Extra thyme leaves, to garnish
Beef barley and mushroom broth

Method:

  1. Put the beef in a large mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat half the oil in a large non-stick pan and cook the beef in batches for 3-4 minutes until brown all over.  Transfer to a large flame/heatproof ovenproof casserole dish with a lid.
  3. Add the cider, stocks, thyme and bay leaves to the casserole dish.
  4. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer on the hob for 1½hours.  Add the pearl barley, cover and continue to cook for a further 1½hours, stirring occasionally.
  5. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in the same frying pan and cook the onion for 10-15 minutes until caramelised under a low heat.  Remove from the heat and stir through the mushrooms.
  6. During the last 5-10 minutes of the cooking time add the onions and mushrooms to the broth.
  7. Serve with crusty bread and or seasonal vegetables.

Winter beef and chestnut casserole (slow cooker version)

If you find yourself particularly busy over the festive season, then a slow cooker recipe is very useful as they are quick to prepare and require minimum effort but deliver the most amazing flavours.

Ingredients:

  • 450g/1lb organic diced beef from Helen Browning’s
  • 10ml/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 20ml/2tsp oil
  • 8 shallots, peeled and left whole
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 175g/6oz baby carrots, topped and left whole
  • 4 tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 450ml/ 3/4 pint good, hot beef stock
  • 200ml/7 floz good red wine
  • 15ml/1tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 200g/7 oz cooked and peeled whole chestnuts
Winter beef and chestnut casserole

Method:

  1. Place the flour, seasoning and nutmeg into a large plastic food bag. Add the beef in batches and coat with the seasoned flour.
  2. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and cook the beef for 4-5 minutes until brown on all sides. Transfer to a large slow cooker.
  3. In the same frying pan cook the shallots, garlic and carrots for 2-3 minutes. Spoon over the beef with the tomatoes.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and turn a large slow cooker to HIGH and cook for 4-6 hours or LOW for 8-10 hours, or according to your manufacturers handbook.
  5. Serve with mustard mash.

Beef and ale pot pies…

These pot pies maybe be small but they sure are mighty! They are packed full of nutritious veg and organic diced beef. Studies have shown that organic beef contains 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids that non-organic produce; so, you really can pack in a lot of essential nutrients with these meals.

Ingredients:

  • 450g organic diced beef from Helen Browning’s
  • 2 tablespoons rapeseed or olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 75g fresh or frozen peas
  • 600ml pale ale or good, hot beef stock
  • 2 teaspoons tomato purée
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 large sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ x 500g pack shortcrust pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten
Beef and ale pot pies

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan on a moderate heat.  In a large plastic bag add the flour and seasoning.  Add the beef and toss in the seasoned flour.
  2. Cook the beef in batches for 3-4 minutes until brown, turning occasionally. Transfer to a large casserole dish.
  3. In the same frying pan cook the onions, garlic and carrots for 3-4 minutes and transfer to the casserole dish.
  4. Add the peas, ale or stock, tomato purée, Worcestershire sauce, thyme and bay leaves.  Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and cook on the hob for 1½ hours, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly and remove the bay leaves.
  5. Preheat the oven to 200°C, 180°C, Fan, Gas mark 6.
  6. Spoon the beef equally into four 300ml round or oval ovenproof dishes. Brush the edges of each dish with water.Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut four equal rounds of pastry to fit the pie dishes and seal around the edges. Make a small hole in the centre of each pie to allow the steam to escape.
  7. Place on a large baking sheet and bake for 20 until pastry is golden brown.
  8. Serve with seasonal vegetables, crusty bread or mashed potatoes and any hot gravy from the pan.

Beef casserole with herb dumplings…

Incredibly succulent pieces of organic diced beef, root veg, hearty dumplings, and amazing flavours. You can’t go wrong with this beef casserole!

Ingredients:

For the casserole…

  • 675g organic diced beef from Helen Browning’s
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 10 small shallots, or button onions, peeled
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 900ml good, hot beef stock
  • 3 tablespoons brandy or cognac, optional
  • 2 tablespoons horseradish sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 large sprigs fresh thyme

For the herb dumplings…

  • 225g self-raising flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 50g cold butter, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped thyme or flat-leaf parsley
  • 8-10 tablespoons cold water
Beef casserole and herb dumplings

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C, 150°C Fan, Gas Mark 3.
  2. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan, season the beef and cook for 4-5 minutes in batches until brown and transfer to a 1.7L ovenproof casserole dish.
  3. In the same pan add the shallots or onions, garlic, carrots and parsnips and
  4. cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the flour, cook for 1-2 minutes then spoon into the casserole dish.
  5. Add the stock, brandy or cognac, if used, horseradish sauce and herbs. Bring to the boil and reduce the heat. Cover and cook in the oven for 1½-2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  6. To prepare the dumplings; put the flour and salt into a large bowl and rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the remaining ingredients. Mix together to form a smooth dough and shape into 8 medium-sized balls.
  7. 20-25 minutes before the end of the cooking time remove the casserole from the oven, adjust the seasoning, add the dumplings and return to the oven uncovered.
  8. Serve with creamy mash and braised Savoy cabbage