Nick Nairn says that Scottish beef is some of the best in the world: "Our hardy wee beasts spend most of their time outdoors feeding on grass, and have the minimum amount of human intervention in their rearing." He strongly advises seeking out well-marbled beef for the most tender and succulent stew.
More Hearty Stews
In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until shimmering. Spread the flour in a shallow bowl. Season the beef with salt and pepper and dredge in the flour; shake off any excess flour. Add half of the meat to the casserole and cook over moderately high heat until browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderate and cook until browned on the other side, about 2 minutes longer. With a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and floured meat, browning the meat over moderate heat.
Melt the butter in the casserole. Add the onions, carrots, celery and rutabaga and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 7 minutes. Add the jelly and the wine and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the casserole. Add the beef stock and bring to a boil. Add the browned meat and any accumulated juices along with the thyme, garlic and bay leaf and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer over low heat until the meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
With a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a bowl. Boil the sauce over high heat until reduced to 2 cups, about 10 minutes. Return the meat to the casserole and season with salt and pepper. Discard the thyme sprig and bay leaf. Serve the stew with the Skirlie Potato Cakes.
The stew can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
This stew is so intensely flavorful, it deserves a rich and powerful red from Bordeaux to go along with it.
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