Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hearty beef and mushroom stew with dumplings

Beef and mushroom stew with Schmaltz dumplings
It's the second recipe challenge week for the Freshly Blogged competition and I'm still going strong! Our list of ingredients this week included 500g beef shin, vegetable soup mix, knorr beef stock pot, star anise, white wine vinegar and beef suet. We were allowed to omit one ingredient, add two fresh ingredients and one grocery item, plus anything on our pantry list.
I added mushrooms and onion and used Schmaltz instead of beef suet... so here goes! Hope you enjoy!  
And don't forget to vote for me here: http://freshlyblogged.co.za/recipe/hearty-winter-beef-stew-with-dumplings/

There’s nothing like a hearty, wholesome winter braise to warm up those chilly evenings. So on Sunday I took the opportunity to use a free afternoon and pack it in with hours of cooking. The ingredients presented to us in this week’s challenge immediately made me think of British cooking, so I was inspired to make dumplings and add them in during the last half hour of braising, when the vegetables and meat were so tender they started falling apart and my apartment was filled with enticing aromas. It’s the perfect dish for entertaining as you can spend time with your guests while your dinner cooks away in the oven. You can also make it the day before and simply heat it up over a stove top before serving.
Enjoy!

Beef shin and mushroom stew:

500g beef shin
flour for dusting
olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped (additional fresh ingredient 1)
1 medium-large carrot, finely chopped
celery stalks, finely chopped
1 large potato, diced into 1cm squares
1 knorr beef stock pot
1 PnP star anise
2 to 3 teaspoons PnP white wine vinegar
3 to 4 teaspoons brown sugar
1 punnet brown or portabellini mushrooms, cut into quarters (additional fresh ingredient 2)
salt and pepper for seasoning

Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
Coat the beef shin in flour and brown in a little olive oil in an oven-proof dish (cast-iron pot) over medium-high heat. Remove meat and set aside on a plate.
To make your Mirepoix, make sure the ratios of your onion, carrot and celery are 2:1:1 respectively. Fry mirepoix over medium heat in the same cast-iron pot adding more olive oil if needed. Add diced potato. Add Knorr stock pot to 1 cup of boiling water to loosen and add this to the pot. Place beef shin back into the pot. Add 1 star anise, 2 teaspoons of vinegar, 3 teaspoons of brown sugar and stir. Add in mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Add enough boiling water to just cover the vegetables and meat (another 2 cups). You don’t want to add too much initially, but remember the pot will cook in the oven for 4 hours. If you need to add more at a later stage you can.
Place pot in the oven and cook for 1 hour. Remove star anise.
Return to the oven, and braise for a  further 2 hours, stirring every half an hour.
After 3 hours in the oven adjust the flavour. You may want to add 1 more teaspoon of vinegar and brown sugar. The acidity from the vinegar works nicely with the mushrooms and the beef.

Dumplings:

125g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
60g beef suet or vegetable shortening (Schmaltz)
2 Tablespoons of water

Once the beef braise has been in the oven for 3 hours, start making the dumplings. I struggled to find beef suet (beef fat), so instead I replaced it with vegetable shortening (Schmaltz) – as my one additional grocery item – to make the dumplings. Using your hands, combine flour, baking powder and Schmaltz in a bowl until crumbly. Add 2 tablespoons of cold water and form dough into a ball. Set aside to rest for 15 to 20 minutes.
Divide the dough into 4 golf-ball size pieces. Add the dumplings to the braise and cook in the oven for a further 20 to 30 minutes, until you are happy with the texture and they have turned a golden brown colour.
Remove from oven. Garnish with celery leaves and serve four portions.


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