Derval O’Rourke: elite athlete’s slow-cooked beef dinner

Daily Dish: former Olympic hurdler Derval O’Rourke fuels her family with a slow-cooked stew

My life is super busy with two small kids and running my website. I’ve always loved to cook healthy and tasty food with Irish ingredients, this was a skill I worked on as a professional athlete. Since I retired from sport I still try to keep up a healthy diet.

This beef stew is one of my favourite dinners for this time of year, it’s full of goodness and warms you from the inside out. It’s very little hassle and requires little clean up – what’s not to love? If you know me, you know that I love batch cooking. It’s great to know that I have a healthy meal pre-prepared in the freezer for the family.

This stew serves four people, the leftovers reheat beautifully and of course can be frozen, so even if it’s just for one or two people, make it anyway.

I love recipes that allow me to go off and do other things while dinner is cooking. I make this in the slow cooker and I leave it for the day. It means I return home to a house smelling of beautiful stew and a super tasty dinner. It’s just as easy to do on the hob in a big pot too.

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What you'll need:
Serves: 4

400g lean stewing beef, cut into 3cm pieces
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 onions, finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 bay leaves
1 litre beef stock
2 tbsp flour
Steamed vegetables, to serve
Mashed potatoes, to serve

How to make it:

1. You will need a slow cooker with 3.5 litre capacity, a large oven-proof casserole, or a big pot if you’re cooking it on the hob.

2. Preheat the slow cooker (if recommended by the manufacturer).

3. Place the beef, carrots, onions, garlic and bay leaves in the slow cooker, casserole or pot.

4. Use a whisk to blend the beef stock and flour.

5. Pour the stock into the slow cooker, using just enough stock to cover the ingredients. If cooking on the hob just add in all the stock.

6. Set the slow cooker to high and cook for four hours, stirring a few times. It will take two to three hours on the hob on a low heat and the same time in a moderate to low oven.

7. Ladle the stew into warmed serving bowls.

8. Serve with steamed vegetables and mashed potatoes.

Derval O’Rourke is a coach on Ireland’s Fittest Family, currently on RTÉ One on Sundays at 6.30pm