The Ultimate comfort food for those cold winter nights indoors. A rich tender beef stew with an oaty cobbler, horseradish and cheese topping.
Preheat the oven to 180*C/fan oven 160*C/Gas mark 4. Heat half the oil in a large heavy based casserole dish and add the meat in batches until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Pour the remaining oil into the casserole dish and heat gently. Add the onions, garlic, carrots, parsnips, celery and leek and heat gently for 5-8 minutes stirring occasionally until beginning to soften. Sprinkle over the plain flour and stir well to evenly coat. Cook for 1-2 minutes stirring constantly. Add the tomato puree and red wine and bring to the boil. Pour over the stock and return the beef to the casserole dish. Push half the thyme sprigs into the casserole making sure they are under the surface of the liquid. Cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for 1 hour 30 minutes until the meat is tender.
15 minutes before the stew is cooked, Remove the thyme leaves from the remaining thyme sprigs. Discard the stalks. Sift the self raising flour into a large bowl. Add the baking powder and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in 55g (2oz) oats, thyme leaves and most of the grated cheese. Whisk the buttermilk, egg and horseradish together. Add to the dry ingredients and mix to a soft sticky dough.
Remove the lid from the casserole and drop spoonfuls of the soft dough over the top. Scatter over the remaining cheese and oats and bake for 35 minutes until risen and golden. Serve with steamed green vegetables.