Italian Cannelini Bean Stew

Beef Cheek and Ox tail stew

Some of the most satisfying meals are those which use leftovers. There is something hugely satisfying in creating something delicious that others might simply bin. Waste not, want not in my house!

I was given a container of ox-tail and beef cheek ragu from a chef at work, as she’s made a huge lasagne with it and had a bit left. The meat was tender and falling apart and coated in a little of the stock that it was cooked in. This recipe could easily be made with leftover roast chicken, beef or lamb. All would be delicious.
I didnt know instantly how I was going to use it, but I knew it had to be filling, warming and to be eaten with big pieces of torn off bread.
In the end I settled on a veg-packed stew with some cannelini beans thrown in as a delicious bulker. Im definitely going to make this again, with or without the added leftover beef, it still would have been delicious. The meat just notched it up from a 9 to a 10!

To feed 4 you’ll need:
1 Carrot, diced
1 Med white Onion, sliced
3 Sticks celery, sliced
2 Medium White Turnips, diced
25g Butter
2 tbsp Olive Oil
Small bunch of thyme
1 tbsp tomato puree
6 stems of cavolo nero, centre removed and cut into long thin pieces
A glass of white wine
300ml Chicken Stock
200g left over meat (Optional)
1 x 400g tin of cannelini beans, drained
Parmesan
Bread

Gremolata:
Zest 1 lemon
A small clove of garlic, grated
Bunch of parsley, finely chopped
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Start by prepping all of your veg ready to sweat, whilst your butter and oil melt, fizz and foam together over a medium heat. Once prepped throw in your carrot, onion, celery and turnip, a nice generous pinch of salt, the thyme, stripped off its woody stalk and place a lid on the whole lot. You’re looking to sweat these veg, so you don’t want any colour at all.
Adding a pinch of salt is really important here. It firstly starts the seasoning of your dish early, so that you’re now building into a delicious dinner. The salt also helps to draw the moisture out of the veg, so that it sweats and doesnt colour.

After 5-10 minutes of nice slow sweating, crank the heat up to full and add the tomato puree. Stir it constantly for 2 minutes before adding the glass of white wine. You want to rattle this for a good few minutes until it reduces by more than half. You need to burn off the alcohol and deepen the wines flavour, otherwise it will rain sharp and so will your stew!

Now add the rest of your stew ingredients: cavolo nero, chicken stock, cannelini beans and if you’ve got it, leftover meat. You may need to add a little water or hold back a little of the stock here, depending on how you like your stew. I like mine with a touch more ‘thin’ than most, so I add a touch of extra water at the end.

Leave this to blip away for 20 minutes or so until all the flavours have softened, deepened and amalgamated, whilst you crack on with your gremolata.
This really couldn’t be easier. Zest 1 lemon. Grate a small clove of garlic on a microplane, and finely chop a nice bunch of parsley. Place in a bowl and drizzle in oil until you have a ‘pesto-like’ consistency. There’s really no right or wrong consistency here. Taste, season, and set aside.

By now everything your stew should be soft and delicious. Serve up in nice big bowls, grated with parmesan, dotted with gremolata and a nice hunk of bread on the side.

Perfect.

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