When it comes to comfort food, beef stew is sure to get a mention. It is not only the taste that gives comfort, it is also the aroma that fills the house as it cooks that makes everyone look forward to actually eating it.
I have found a good beef supplier in a nearby market who actually sells beef with bones. This stewing beef actually has some bones in it. I am not savvy on meat parts. Back home, as well as here, meat is labeled according to what it is used for, e.g. stewing, braising or frying. I can only say that this beef is stewing beef.
It is a simple straightforward stew that sits in the oven and slowly cooks until tender and very, very tasty. I don't dust the beef pieces in flour when I fry them before braising because I don't want the sauce to be too thick. I just thicken it with corn flour later on to give it some body.
The special treat that comes with this stew is herbed potato dumplings. I have substituted mashed potato for half the amount of flour in a standard dumpling recipe. I also added spring onions and parsley for a fresh taste that goes really well with the rich stew. It is like a lighter and tastier gnocchi. I pre-cooked these in water rather than directly in the stew because I did not want them to make the sauce floury. I made a double batch of dumplings because one can never have enough dumplings.
1 kg. stewing beef, cut into 2" x 2" chunks
2 tbsps. light soy sauce
2 tbsps. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 tbsps. butter plus 2 tbsps. of oil
2 1/2 c. beef stock
1/4 c. sherry
3 large carrots, cut into large chunks
20 whole chestnut mushrooms, cleaned
2 tbsps. butter
2 tbsps. chopped parsley
2 tsps. of corn flour mixed with 2 tbsps. of water
Pre-heat the oven to 350° F/ 180° C.
Marinate the beef pieces with the light soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and pepper.
Heat up a frying pan and add the butter and oil mixture. Pan fry the beef pieces, a few at a time, until well sealed and browned. Transfer to a heavy oven-proof casserole.
When all the beef pieces have been fried, add the stock and sherry and bring the mixture to a boil on the stove top.
Transfer the pot the oven and cook for 2-2 1/2 hours until the beef pieces are tender.
Take the pot out of the oven and take out the meat and transfer to a dish. Put a lid on to keep it from drying.
Put the pot on the heat (on the stove top) and add in the carrots. When the carrots are nearly tender, add the mushrooms. When the mushrooms are done, thicken the sauce by slowly adding the corn flour slurry. You may not need all of this. Just thicken the sauce enough to give it body.
Return the meat to the pot and cook for 2 more minutes. Switch the heat off and add the butter and chopped parsley. Serve with the dumplings and boiled or mashed potatoes.
Ingredients for the dumplings:
1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. cooked and mashed potatoes
1 tbsps. parsley
1 tbsp. melted butter
1/4 cup of milk
2 tbsps. oil
Mix the flour, salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Mix the mashed potatoes, parsley, butter and milk in another bowl before adding to the dry ingredients. Mix well.
With oiled hands, form into 1" diameter balls or use a a small ice cream scoop to form rough balls.
Boil plenty of water in a pot and add 2 tbsps. of oil. Add a few of the dumpling balls at a time and cook for about 3 minutes. They will puff up and float to the surface. Skim off with a slotted spoon and transfer to a dish. Cook the rest of the dumplings. Serve on top of the stew.
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