This week we have seen snow storms in the Mid West United States. Seems as though they have hit Winter head on and not bothered with the Fall. One of my previous managers at work hailed from North Dakota and liked to explain how in those parts Spring and Fall could last about 5 minutes – it seemed to go from sweltering heat to freezing blizzards overnight.
Well over here in good ol’ Britain we like to make a major palava out of our weather. In fact this year we are still waiting for Autumn to arrive. It’s T-shirt weather still. But we are gearing up for a good hard blast of Mr Freezy. It’s the way it works. You have to pay the (weather) piper at some point.
So this creation doesn’t really feel right for an evening where it’s still 17 Centigrade. But who cares. Maybe I can package it up and ship it off to those poor folks in South Dakota…
Beef Braised in Red Wine (with Dumplings). There is no point eating this stuff without Dumplings. If you don’t like Dumplings, you could try quinoa. But I don’t recommend it.
- 2 lbs braising beef (e.g. shin, flank)
- Vegetable oil
- 6 portobello mushrooms
- 1/2 bottle red wine
- 7 small carrots
- 2 large parsnips
- 2 big onions
- Bunch thyme
- Bunch parsley
- Bay leaf
- 1/2 litre beef stock (I bought it fresh. Making it is probably best but it’s a bit of a faff)
- 4 shallots
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 bottle sherry
- Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- salt and pepper
For the dumplings
- 100g plain flour
- 50g beef suet (suet is made from the hard fat that surrounds beef kidney – doesn’t sound that nice but is an essential element in a good dumpling)
- 2 or 3 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
- pinch of salt
First heat up some oil in a Dutch Oven. Cut the the beef into four pieces and fry in the oil to sear for about 8 mins, turning once.
Remove the beef and set aside. Add the onion, garlic, carrots and parsnip to the pot and fry for a few mins.
Once the vegetables have started browning up (don’t worry, they all go away soon enough) add back the meat.
Pour in the stock, wine, sherry and add the tomato paste.
Add the herbs and than slow cook in the oven for about 3 hours at 150 centigrade. Take out the oven and remove the meat and set aside.
Strain the liquid in the pot through a sieve, to get rid of all those vegetables and whatnot.
Prepare the shallots and mushrooms. Fry them in a pan for a few mins with a bit of oil.
Meanwhile, heat the sauce in the pot to reduce it.
Now add the shallots, mushrooms and beef back to the pot.
Make the dumplings by combining the ingredients in a bowl to form a dry dough and then forming into balls of equal size. Place the dumplings on top of the meaty creation.
Cook in the oven for 20 mins. Serve by spooning some sauce into a wide shallow bowl. Place a piece of beef in the centre. Place a dumpling on top and then spoon some more sauce on top.
This beauty is guaranteed to keep the winter blues away. Wine pairing: Wine, preferably red but no one will judge you if you prefer white.