most of the time i prefer cooking meals that can be thrown together in half an hour. meals you can still do after work and have enough time for other things. like having a life.
but there are dishes that can’t be rushed, stews being the main example. most people will read elizabeth david’s recipe below (reproduced verbatim) and give up because it takes so long. but you can do it in stages as i did – i prepared the marinade on sunday while doing something else in the kitchen, i left it in the fridge for 24 rather than 12 hours, i cooked it on monday night up until the point you need to put the tomatoes in, and i finished it off on tuesday. no harm will come to it from sitting in the fridge for a bit longer – in fact, the flavour will intensify and it will taste all the better for it.
i did tinker with the recipe a bit, mainly to include more vegetables (celery, leek and lots more carrots). the meat i used was bison, bought at the local farmers’ market. it was cheap though of course you can substitute a stewing cut of beef. i used the normal sliced bacon instead of a piece of pork in the recipe.
"3lb round of beef, 1 cloves of garlic, 1/2 lb salt streaky pork or unsmoked fat bacon, 1/2 lb carrots, 1/2 lb stoned black olives, 3 tomatoes, herbs. for the marinade: 1/4 pint of red wine, a coffeecup full of olive oil, a small piece of celery, a carrot, 4 shallots, an onion, 2 cloves of garlic, peppercorns, herbs, salt
heat the oil in a small pan, put the sliced onion, shallots, celery and carrot. let them simmer for a minute or two, add the red wine, peppercorns, garlic and fresh or dried herbs (bayleaf, thyme, marjoram, rosemary), and a stalk or two of parsley. season with a little salt, and simmer the marinade gently for 15-20 minutes. let it cool before pouring over the meat, which should be left to marinate for a least 12 hours, and should be turned over once or twice.
in an earthenware or other fireproof casserole, into which it will just about fit, put the meat. arrange the carrots around it, put in fresh herbs and the garlic, put the bacon in one piece on top, and pour over the strained marinade. cover the put with greaseproof paper and the lid, and cook in a slow oven (regulo 3) for 2 1/2 hours. at this stage add the stoned olives and the skinned and chopped tomatoes. cook another half-hour, and before serving cut the pork or bacon into squares and the meat into good thick slices.
this dish has a really beautiful southern smell and appearance. serve it with boiled haricot or flagolet beans, or pasta, or the aigroissade toulonnaise, and a red rhone wine."