Since I'm a big fan of steak, and I'm a big fan of stew, the idea of Steak Stew just seemed like a match made in heaven.
Officially this was called Slow-Cooked Steak in Red Wine with Gremolata Dumplings, but Steak Stew was easier to remember.
To quote this particular rendition of the European classic's progenitor, Meillier Ouvrier chef Mark Gregory,
"In these recessionary times, it’s good to remind ourselves that simple food, slowly cooked is cost-effective, comforting and absolutely delicious. Our grandmothers used dumplings to pad out the more expensive ingredients like meat, and it’s a great house-keeping tip which is more relevant than ever right now!"Never was a truer word spoken. If you're not making the most of cheaper cuts of meat cooked long and slow in the oven, then now is the time to get into it. And this one is actually pretty darned easy.
Just imagine: You've had a "stew" ticking away in the oven for a couple of hours, and when you come to dish it up, it's not stew but steak that slaps down on the plate, tender and melting and drowning in delicious red wine gravy.
With dumplings, of course.
I followed the recipe pretty much to the letter, only reducing the quantities by half. I have copied most of the recipe direct from the Radio NZ website, indented for clarity.
4 x 300 - 400g beef blade or chuck steaks
plain flour to dust steaks
¼ cup olive oil – or use other if not available
2 medium onions – finely chopped
3 cloves garlic – finely chopped
300ml red wine
1 cup tinned chopped tomatoes
½ cup chicken stock
pinch dried chilli
3 sprigs rosemary – from the garden if you have it
6 pieces anchovy - optional
"First choose a casserole dish large enough to hold the steaks.
Heat a frying pan, add three tablespoons of olive oil then sweat the onions and garlic for 5 minutes until soft and sweet. Scrape all into the casserole saucepan."
"Re-heat frying pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, lightly dust steaks with flour then pan fry until golden – you may have to do this in batches depending upon size of fry pan. Place the coloured steaks on top of the onions."
"Add red wine to the frying pan and reduce down for several minutes until it’s nearly all evaporated, add the tomatoes, stock and chili, rosemary and anchovies if using. Stir well before scraping everything over the steaks. Cover with a lid and place in oven at 325F/160°C for one-and-a-half hours."Don't forget the dumplings:
2 cups plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic – crushed
1 lemon, zested
½ cup parsley - chopped
1 cup grated butter – place in freezer for 1 hour first before grating
¾+ cup milk
"After 1 hour make the gremolata dumplings – sift flour into a large mixing bowl, gently mix in all other ingredients except milk. Now mix in sufficient milk to make a moist dough (similar to scones).
With wet hands, roll dumpling dough into golf ball-sized pieces and place on floured bench top. Remove steaks from oven, take off the lid and place gremolata dumplings evenly around the surface, be sure to leave one inch between each – if there’s too much dumpling mix do not use the extra.
Recover steaks with the lid and place back into the oven a further 20 minutes to cook the dumplings."
This was pretty yummy, but I think they should've cooked for even longer to really get down to that melt-in-your-mouth stage. The Gremolata Dumplings were different, and a curious change from my usual herbed dumplings, but I think we'll stick with the original for a while yet.
So there you have it, a bit of a recipe review. I just keep moving into new, exciting fields of endeavour, don't I?