Beef and red wine stew

This is my second entry into the Freshly Blogged competition. My first was well…not amazing. It was ok, I was happy with it – it was the best I could do with the ingredients, but I’d hardly call it stellar.

This stew on the other hand, is surprisingly fantastic. I have a habit of over-complicating stews and slow-cooked foods (two delicious examples here and here). Perhaps adding more ingredients than necessary, always trying to pack as much flavour in as I can. This competition (and this challenge in particular) showed me what is possible with limited ingredients. A simple sauce made with stock and red wine, flavoured with a few basics – a sprinkle of rosemary and mushrooms – and it’s done.

We were given suet to use – and as the British are kings and queens of comfort food in my opinion, I tried my hand at making dumplings. They came out rather nicely, but I’m not sure if it’s something I’d make again. Or rather, make again with suet.

This is a simple dish, packed full of flavour, warmth and comfort. Perfect for enjoying lazily on a Sunday afternoon, with blankets being snuggled and a glass of red wine on the side.

Beef, Rosemary and Red Wine Stew with Dumplings

Ingredients:

For the stew
Vegetable oil for frying
100g cake flour
Salt
500g beef shin, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 Punnet PnP Soup Pack (carrot, leeks, potato, turnip)
200ml red wine
1 Knorr Beef Stock Pot
PnP star anise
125g mushrooms of your choice
Fresh rosemary

For the dumplings
50g beef suet, shredded or finely chopped
50g self-raising flour
Salt to taste
Water to bind

For the vegetable crisps
Vegetable oil
Potato, sliced thinly (preferably with a mandoline)
Turnip, sliced thinly (preferably with a mandoline)
Salt

Method:

Stew : Place a pot or buffet casserole on a high heat, and add a drizzle of vegetable oil. Place the flour in a plate or shallow bowl, with a sprinkling of salt, and place your meat in it – one piece at a time – until well coated in the flour.

Once all the meat is coated, place in the hot oil and brown on both sides, doing it in batches if need be. Once all the pieces have been browned, reduce the heat to medium. Slice the carrot and leek from the soup pack, and add to the pan with the meat, adding a little more oil if need be. Fry the vegetables with the meat, until the vegetables start to soften. Add the wine and enough water to cover the meat and vegetables, and then stir in the stock pot. Add the star anise, and scatter over the mushrooms and rosemary. Close the pot with a lid and allow to simmer on a low heat for an hour. Check the meat for tenderness after an hour, and add a little more water if the sauce is reducing too quickly. Once the meat is tender add the dumplings, close with the lid again and cook for 20 minutes until the dumplings are cooked. Serve immediately with vegetable crisps on top.

Dumplings :Rub the suet, flour and salt together and then add enough water to form a stiff dough. Roll into a sausage and cut into 6 slices. Sprinkle with flour and roll each slice into a ball – keeping in mind they will double in size when they cook. Keep on a plate until ready to use.
Vegetable crisps : Add vegetable oil to a shallow frying pan (about 1cm). Heat on a high heat. Add the potato and turnip slices to the frying pan in batches, one layer at a time, and fry till crisp, turning over half way. Sprinkle with salt when done.
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