Today my Chestnut flour finally got its first outing.
It is very precious so I wanted to use it for something special. While furtling about in my freezer yesterday I found some organic stewing steak I had forgotten about and decided this would be the perfect partner for my flour. Using John Wright’s recipe as a base, I tweaked and adapted the stew to suit my ingredients while remaining faithful to the dumplings.
It was incredibly satisfying to use so many of our own produce. The carrots could not have been fresher as I pulled them up only minutes before using them. The onions were also grown by the Captain as were the herbs and horseradish root. Digging up the latter proved to be every bit as tricky as all my foraging books promised and preparing it was a nightmare. Next time I think I shall dig out a pair of discarded swimming goggles from the long gone days of children’s swimming lessons. Whether this will help remains to be seen but for those of you who have not had the unique pleasure that is grating fresh horseradish root, all I can say is, think of chopping the worst onions in the world and then multiply by one hundred.
Obviously, the beer I used was the Captain’s homebrew. I suppose any old beer would do, but it will not be the same. Clearly 🙂
Anyway. Whether I am just biased after concocting such a home produced meal complete with foraged ingredients, but I have to say that the results were rather splendid.
Serves 4 with dumplings and enough stew for freezing
250g onions, chopped
275g streaky bacon, chopped
1250g stewing steak, cubed
25g plain flour
25g chestnut flour
1litre homebrew bitter
2 tbsp tomato purée
4 bay leaves
several sprigs of fresh thyme
1 heaped tbsp cornflour
For the dumplings:
- 75g self-raising flour
- 25g chestnut flour
- pinch of baking powder
- 50g freshly grated horseradish
- 50g shredded suet
- about 75ml water
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Melt the butter in a large/deep frying pan and cook the onions with the bacon, until the onions are soft and the bacon beginning to brown. Transfer to slow cooker using a slotted spoon. Brown the beef in batches and transfer to plate. Return to pan and sprinkle with flours stirring well to mix and thicken the juices. Transfer to slow cooker. Pour homebrew into pan, gradually, stirring well to mix in all the sediment. Add tomato purée, herbs and salt and pepper. Bring to boil stirring in cornflour mixed with a little water then pour over meat in slow cooker. Leave for several hours to cook until tender.
One and half hours before serving make the dumplings. Mix all the ingredients except the water in a bowl. Gradually add the water, kneading lightly into a soft dough. Shape into small balls of about 3cms in diameter. Remove the lid of the slow cooker and sit the balls on top of the stew. Replace the lid and leave. Serve when dumplings cooked.