2 celery sticks, sliced into 1cm pieces
1 onion , chopped
2 really big carrots , halved lengthways then sliced into thick chunks
5 bay leaves
3 thyme sprigs
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp each plain flour, tomato purée and Worcestershire sauce
2 beef stock cubes (I use Knorr stock pot, 1 beef and 1 rich beef)
850 g braising steak, cut into large chunks
850 g large potatoes
25 g each mature cheddar and Parmesan , finely grated
Heat oven to 160 C/gas 3. Soften celery, onion, carrots, bay and 1 thyme sprig in a casserole with 1 tbsp oil and the butter for 10 mins. Stir in the flour, then the purée, Worcestershire sauce and stock cubes.
Add in 600 ml hot water, then tip in the beef and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook in the oven for 2 hrs 30 mins, then uncover and cook for 30 mins -1 hr more until the meat is really tender and sauce thickened.
Meanwhile, cook potatoes in a pan of boiling water until they’re not done but about ¾ of the way there.
Transfer meat to a baking dish. Slice the potatoes into 1cm thick rounds and gently toss with seasoning, the remaining oil and thyme leaves. Layer on top of the beef, scattering with the cheese as you layer.
Increase oven to 200 C/gas 6 and bake for 30-40 mins until golden and crispy, and sauce bubbling. Serve with peas or other veg of your choice.