Mushrooms have a moreish savoury taste known as ‘umami’, and are a good source of vitamins B and D. Here they add a richness to the stew along with the beef, accompanied with the cheesy parmesan mash so that none of the delicious juices are wasted.
1.Place porcini mushrooms and stock in a small bowl; soak for 10 minutes. Drain, reserving stock. Finely chop mushrooms.
2.Heat oil in a large casserole or heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat; cook beef, in batches, turning until browned all over. Remove from dish.
3.Cook onion and garlic in same dish, stirring, until softened. Return beef to dish with paste, tomatoes, bay leaf, porcini mushrooms and reserved stock; bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer; cook, covered, 30 minutes. Add button mushrooms; cook, uncovered, a further 1 hour or until meat is tender. Season to taste.
4.Meanwhile, make parmesan mash. Boil potatoes in a saucepan of salted water until tender. Drain; leave for a few minutes to dry. Heat cream and butter in same pan over medium-low heat; add potatoes, mashing into milk mixture with a potato masher until smooth. Remove from heat; stir in parmesan until combined. Season to taste.
5.Serve beef stew with parmesan mash, sprinkled with parsley.
Floury potatoes have a high starch content so tend to fall apart when cooked. They are great for roasting, as their flesh becomes fluffy and the outside crisp, and for mashing, as they will be very creamy. Varieties include king edward and coliban.