MasterChef winners Karena and Kasey Bird write a fortnightly food column in Living.

Kasey and Karena: Comfort food (+recipes)

You can't go past the classics when it comes to warming food.
Slow cooked casserole.
Slow cooked casserole.

These two recipes are classics our mum has made us since we were young. They give us such a warm, fuzzy feeling, not only when we are eating them but also when we get home from a long day and the smell from the oven has filled the house. Another thing we love about these dishes is that we usually have most of the ingredients already in our cupboard.

Slow cooked beef casserole

1.5kg beef shin on the bone
Flour to lightly cover meat
3 Tbsp oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 onions, finely chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
Salt and pepper
1 cup red wine
½ cup balsamic vinegar
2 cups beef stock
1 tin tomatoes
1 potato, diced
Parsley to garnish

Preheat oven to 160c.

Dry beef with paper towels and dust lightly with flour. Heat an ovenproof dish on a high heat. Add 2 tbsp of oil and brown the beef bones on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the rest of the oil. Add the garlic, onion, carrots, celery, bay leaves, thyme and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 8 minutes or until the vegetables soften but not brown. Increase the heat and add the balsamic vinegar. Cook off for 2 minutes making sure to scrape the bottom of the dish to release all of the flavour stuck to the bottom. Add the wine, bring to a simmer and cook till reduced by half. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Add the meat back into the dish and add tomatoes and potato, bring to a simmer. Cover with tinfoil and place in the oven.

Cook for an hour. Remove the tinfoil and cook for another hour.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve with a fresh green salad.

Cottage pie with kumara gratin top

Cottage pie with kumara gratin.
Cottage pie with kumara gratin.

Serves 4

800g mince
2 Tbsp oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk chopped
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup mixed frozen vegetables
3 Tbsp tomato sauce
1 tin tomatoes
2 orange kumara, peeled and cut into thin slices
¼ cup of cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 170C. Heat a large fry pan over high heat. Add the oil and the onion, carrot and celery. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 8 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.

Add the mince and cook for 10 minutes or until the mince is browned Add the tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce and cook for 5 minutes. Add the mixed vegetables, tomato sauce and tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and place in a medium sized oven tray.

Top with the kumara and cover with cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until the kumara is cooked.


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