Tana Ramsay's Cinnamon Beef Stew

This is a real winter dish. The smell of the cinnamon fills the house and gets everyone excited about the meal to come.


1. Put the steak into a mixing bowl and pour the marsala over it. Stir well to make sure the beef is separated and covered in wine. Cover and leave at room temperature for anything between 30 minutes and 2 hours.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/350F/gas 4. Put the onions, celery and garlic into a food processor and blitz until completely smooth. (Or finely chop the vegetables by hand.) Add the tomatoes to the food processor and blitz again.
3. Remove the beef from the marsala marinade and dry on absorbent kitchen paper. Reserve the marinade for use later.
4. Heat half the oil on a high heat in a casserole with a tight-fitting lid until it shimmers. Add the beef in batches and brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate and put to one side. Add the remaining oil and cook the carrots and shallots until coloured at the edges. Return the beef to the casserole. Pour over the puréed vegetable and tomato mixture, then add the tomato purée, the reserved marinade and the water.
5. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time, then season with salt and pepper. Tuck the bay leaves and cinnamon sticks into the stew, making sure they are completely submerged in the liquid. Place in the oven and cook for 1 hour, then add the beef stock, season with salt and pepper and stir. Return to the oven and cook for a further 1 ½ hours or until the beef is tender. Check the seasoning before serving.

Hints 'n' Tips

- The easiest way to peel shallots is to pour boiling water over them, leave for 1 minute, then drain and peel.
- If using baby carrots, scrub, top and tail them, alternatively use large ones, peeled and cut diagonally into 2.5cm chunks.
- If you can get hold of baby carrots, that would be lovely, but it is not at all necessary for the flavour. - Make a day in advance, if possible.
- Serve with mashed potato.


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