It’s been a real weather roller-coaster lately, with lovely sunshine one minute, hailstones, cold and sleet the next.  I really felt the need of a nice, warming goulash the other day and trotted out this old favourite.  This recipe is super-easy as you don’t have to brown anything so it’s ideal if you are at home for the morning or the afternoon and it can bubble away as you go about your business.  It tastes even better the next day so I always make enough to have leftovers.

For 4:

450g organic stewing beef or round steak, or venison if available – in 4 serving size pieces, or else diced, whichever you prefer – try to get something with some fat in – super-lean round steak goes very tough in slow cooking!
225g onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped roughly
1-2 rounded tsp paprika
1 teaspoon of (gluten-free) miso paste or 1 Kallo (gluten-free) beef stock cube, dissolved in 250ml boiling water
1 tin chopped tomatoes (about 400g)
1 heaped tsp tomato puree
½ glass red wine, if handy (avoid if on a candida diet)
3 carrots, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
2 400g tins of white haricot beans, drained and rinsed (or 200g dried beans, soaked overnight and boiled hard for ½ hour)
1 heaped tsp herbes de Provence (usually a mix of rosemary, oregano, basil),  mixed herbs or (at a pinch) dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
3 heaped tbs chopped parsley
To thicken (optional) 2 tsp ground rice or brown rice flour

1. If intending to cook this in the oven then preheat oven to 180C/GM4
2. Trim the meat of visible fat.
3. Line the base of a heavy bottomed deep sided ovenproof casserole dish or saucepan with the meat.  The meat can be in flat pieces or bite-sized chunks, whichever you prefer.
4. Add the onions, garlic, paprika, stock or water, tomatoes, tomato puree, beans, wine if using, carrots, celery, pepper and herbs de Provence.  If using home-cooked haricot beans, add them now.
5. If using a saucepan: bring to the boil, then simmer very gently with the lid on until the meat is tender – about 2 hours if using round/stewing beef.
If using the an ovenproof casserole: cover the casserole with the lid and cook in the oven until the meat is tender – about 2 hours.  If using tinned haricot beans, add, mix in and warm through the tinned haricot beans now and warm through.
6. If you like you can thicken the stew juices by mixing in the ground rice or rice flour a few minutes before the end of cooking and whisking until thickened.  I don’t usually bother.
7. Sprinkle the chopped parsley on top just before serving.

Serve with:
Steamed broccoli drizzled with a little fresh lemon juice.
A large leaf salad of bitter leaves (rocket, spinach, watercress) dressed with extra virgin olive oil

If you can eat dairy, top each portion with a dessertspoon of natural organic unsweetened yoghurt or Greek yoghurt (which is made from ewe’s milk) – it gives a lovely tang.

Why this is good for you
White haricot beans are filling and also provide soluble fibre which helps feed friendly bacteria in your gut.  This is important for skin and digestive health as well as mood.  Beans are also rich in magnesium, which helps reduce stress,  insomnia and irritability.  Herbs and spices such as paprika and herbes de Provence have antioxidant anti-inflammatory properties – great if you have problem skin, an inflamed digestive system, or want to keep looking younger for longer.  Note: Some people suffering from ME/chronic fatigue syndrome may benefit from more red meat in the diet than the general guideline of once or twice a week.  This is because red meat contains a substance known acetyl carnitine.  Poor energy production in ME can impair the production and utilisation of acetyl carnitine.  For these people, eating extra lean and ideally organic red meat daily is of benefit.  I know it certainly helped me, whereas a totally vegetarian diet definitely did not.  For more information and a useful e-book on recovering from ME/chronic fatigue syndrome see the website of Dr Sarah Myhill, a brilliant GP specialising in this area