Ah to be in Venice. If I were, I might be eating risi e bisi today, on the first day of spring, although March 20th does seem awfully early for peas, even in Italy. Up here in British Columbia, we won't be shelling peas from the garden for many months. So instead of a dinner welcoming spring, we had one that was more of an adieu to winter: Nigella's old-fashioned beef casserole and double potato mash.
I wanted to use what I had, and not go down to the grocery store, so I only followed her recipes loosely, using IPA instead of stout, lemon instead of orange, much less meat than is called for, a leek, and some shitaakes. I didn't measure the potatoes at all, just used the three sweet potatoes I had leftover from the last SPUD order. Everything turned out delicious. I mean, how can you cook beef in beer over a low flame for three hours and not have it be delicious, right?
This could very well have been our last truly wintry dinner this year, and although I am glad that winter is over, I'm going to miss the food. I'm sure I'll be craving some slow-cooked beef long before it gets cold again.
New Recipe Number 18: Nigella's Double Potato Mash (recipe linked above)
New Recipe Number 19: Nigella's Old-Fashioned Beef Casserole (recipe linked above)