Stewed Steak & Macaroni

Tuesday 29 May 2018

This recipe I am showing you here today is a very, very old one.  It comes from a handwritten scrap of paper in my big blue binder, copied out in my own hand, I suspect from one of my mother's old cookery books from the early days of her marriage. It is the type of thing our Grandmother's would have cooked.

It is a testimony to the thrift of our forebears, and their ability to make simple things taste extraordinarily good, most times not even using recipes, but adding a bit of this and a bit of that, tailoring each lovingly to the tastes of her own family.

I confess, I have done the same, with the original recipe having nothing but salt and pepper and ketchup as seasonings.   I suspect it strongly relied on the individuality and ability of a home cook to play with according to what was in-house.

I have added onion and garlic powders, some dried thyme and a splash of Worcestershire sauce.  Oh, and a bay leaf.  Did you know that breaking a bay leaf in half helps to release more of its flavours?  Its true.  When you think about it, it only makes sense.

I also added some finely grated peeled carrot and swede (rutabaga) because we like those things with beef, but you can leave them out if you don't have or want to add them.

The long slow cooking over low heat, really tenderises the meat . . .  until it is pretty much falling apart and fork tender.

The macaroni actually gets added at the end and cooks in the juices in the pot, just until it is al dente. You may need to keep topping it up with some boiling water until the macaroni is cooked, but do be judicious as you don't want it to be soupy. 

As you can see, mine is not soupy in the least.  In fact I would call it darned near perfect, and I say that in all humility.

This is absolutely delicious.  Cheap, cheerful and delicious.

All you need on the side is a salad perhaps and some buttered crusty bread if desired . . . 

I used a small piece of silver side, that had been cut into a small roast for someone, that I discovered in the grocery store for only £2.38, which made for a really thrifty find.

It was a really lean piece of meat as well, with only one small sliver of fat that needed trimming off and discarding.  Altogether this made a really delicious and hearty meal for us for about £4, with enough leftovers for us to enjoy tomorrow.  A very tasty economy!

*Stewed Steak & Macaroni*
Serves 4 - 6

This simple and yet delicious recipe is a testimony to the ability of our forebears to create something quite delicious out of simple and ordinary ingredients.

1 1/2 lb stewing steak (round steak)
(Trimmed of fat)
2 TBS plain flour
2 TBS butter
salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1 bay leaf, broken in half
2 inch piece of peeled carrot and the equivalent in swede (rutabaga), finely grated (optional)
splash of Worcestershire sauce
115g pound dry macaroni (1 cup)
1 TBS tomato ketchup

Cut the steak into small pieces.  Roll the pieces in the flour.  Heat the butter in a medium saucepan which has a lid,  over moderate heat, until it begins to foam.  Add the steak, a few pieces at a time and brown on all sides.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add the garlic powder, onion powder, thyme and paprika.  Cover generously with hot water, the grated vegetables, and add a splash of Worcestershire Sauce. Break the bay leaf in half and add.  Bring to the boil, then reduce to a slow simmer, cover tightly and simmer over low heat for 1 1/2 hours until the meat is very tender.  You may need to add some boiling water from time to time to make sure that the bottom doesn't catch. b

At the end of that time, remove the bay leaf and discard. Add the dry macaroni and enough boiling water to make sure that the macaroni will cook properly, you want about a inch of water over the top.  Cook, stirring occasionally, and adding water as necessary, until the macaroni is tender.  Stir in the tomato ketchup and adjust seasoning as required.  Serve hot spooned into bowls.

Note - some cheese grated over top is good.

I know a lot of us are tempted to discard or ignore these old recipes, thinking that there is little or no value in them.  I mean, they are quite old fashioned aren't they and there is no kale or quinoa in sight, but really, when you think about it, our ancestors were, in main, quite healthy and all they had was simple food to eat.  Simple, thrifty ingredients done well.  This fits in very well with the ethos of my style of cooking.  Bon Appetite! 


  1. Doable for families..and like you said reasonable!!

    1. Thanks Monique! I guite like this kind of thing myself! Xo

  2. it sounds and looks wonderful even for non pasta loving spouses lol,,

    1. Thanks Laurie. He does tolerate it, even if he sometimes thinks I am punishing him! Xo

  3. Wow, 16 pictures of the dish from the exact same angle. A little unnecessary. Recipe looks good though.

    1. Not exactly the same angle. This was almost 4 years ago however and I like to think I have learned more about food blogging since then. Anyways, the recipe is sound and delicious.

  4. Marie wonder what the equivalent to silver side is here in the USA tia

    1. The equivalent would be Top Round. I hope this helps! xo


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