30 September 2011

Red Wine Beef with Coriander Dumplings

I'm tired of waiting for summer to end to cook some hearty winter comfort food. Temperatures are still in the 40's but this week I cooked my first winter stew - Red wine beef with coriander dumplings.

The stews I remember from my childhood were hearty affairs with loads of vegetables, served with a mound of mashed potatoes and peas. I still love the simple flavours in the stews my mother used to cook, but I also like to punch them a bit with wine and herbs. I change out the mash as well with parnsip, celeriac or sweet potato and in this recipe I make some chunky floury dumplings to top it all off. As with any recipe, change things around to suit your tastes, subsititute parsley if coriander isn't your thing, leave out the parmesan cheese if you're not a fan, and add in potatoes or red kidney beans to change the texture.

Is there anything more comforting on a cold winters day (and I chuckle as I write that on a bright sunny Doha day) then a big bowl of stew, some fresh crunchy white bread and a pile of mash.

Red Wine and Beef Stew with Coriander Dumplings
This stew also freezes well, so make two, one in a tinfoil container so it's easy to reheat straight from the freezer.
  • 2 kgs beef chuck steak, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 rashers of bacon, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large tomatoes diced (or 1/2 can diced tomatoes)
  • 2 large parsnips, chopped into 1cm pieces (I used carrots as couldn't find parsnips)
  • 5 cups good quality beef stock
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme)
  • 1 teaspoon worcestshire sauce
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour mixed with 50mls water
For the dumplings
  • 1 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 5 tablespoons chopped coriander (or parsley)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  1. Heat half of the oil in a big pot and brown the beef (you might need to do it in two batches), set aside
  2. Heat the rest of the oil in the pot and fry the bacon (you lucky thing), onions and garlic for  few minutes
  3. Add the beef back in with the parsnips, wine, beef stock, thyme, tomatoes and worcestshire sauce. Cook stove top on a low heat for 1 hour.
  4. Thicken with the cornflour and water mixture. Cook for another 10 minutes, and season with salt and pepper - transfer the beef mixture to a casserole dish.
  5. To make the dumplings - whisk together the milk and eggs, and add the herbs. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, then add the egg mixture and parmesan and stir. The mixture will be quite sticky.
  6. Put teaspoonfuls on top of the stew about 1cm apart and bake in the oven at 180 degrees celsius (350 degrees fahrenheit) for 15 minutes until dumplings are puffed up and golden on top. Serve quite simply in bowls with some crusty french bread to mop up the sauce.

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