No beef with slow cooker classics
The Dunbrody House’s star chef, Kevin Dundon, shares his favourite recipes
THIS week, I want to share with you some lovely warming recipes. A slow-cooked brisket of beef stew with dumplings and a sausage meatball ragu made in less than an hour — the perfect recipes for cold days and every occasion. First, is my red wine beef stew with dumplings. Beef stews are a great way to feed a family but sometimes pre-packed cubes of stewing beef can be dry when slow cooked. I like using whole pieces from the butcher counter to ensure some of the fat and marble is still on the beef. Brisket of beef, which I am using, is not the most usual to use. It’s more commonly known as a summer smoked barbecue meat. But, as it requires slow and long cooking, it’s also perfect for a stew. Plus it’s cheaper than most other cuts of beef. Whatever technique you are using — either simmering over the counter, braising in the oven, or using a slow cooker — you are guaranteed melt-in-the-mouth stew. Next, is a mid-week ragu — simple and bursting with flavour. Meatballs can be made from any meat, but sausage meat is so tasty and different from the usual beef. The addition of peri-peri seasoning gives a kick of flavour. This dish can be prepared using the slow cooker for busy families. Simply set to cook over low heat for 7-8 hours — but, as with the brisket, always ensure the meatballs are coloured first in a pan to ensure the flavour is enhanced when simmering. Happy cooking, Kevin
BEEF BRISKET STEW WITH DUMPLINGS
Ingredients (serves 6):
■ 800g brisket beef, cut into chunks
■ 3 carrots, diced
■ 2 onions, diced
■ 4 garlic cloves, crushed
■ 1 celery stick, diced
■ 100g mushrooms, sliced
■ 2 tbsp tomato puree
■ 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard –
■ 2 sprigs rosemary
■ 2 sprigs thyme
■ 500ml red wine
■ 300ml stock
■ Salt and pepper
■ For the herb dumplings
■ 200g self-raising flour
■ 50g chestnuts, cooked and chopped — optional
■ 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
■ 1 shallot, chopped
■ 3 tbsp parsley
■ 60ml buttermilk
■ Salt and pepper
1. In a large saucepan, heat a little oil. Add the pieces of beef and fry quickly until coloured or sealed all over.
2. Add the vegetables, stir, and continue to sear for a further 3-4 minutes until all the vegetables are well coloured.
3. Add the tomato puree, rosemary and thyme and a spoon of wholegrain mustard if desired. Stir to coat and colour for a few seconds up to a minute.
4. Pour in the stock and red wine and bring to the boil. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 ½ to 3 hours. Cover with a tight-fitting lid until the meat is tender.
5. Meanwhile, prepare the dumplings. Mix the self-raising flour, salt, shallot, Dijon mustard, chestnut and fresh parsley together. Mix well.
6. Slowly pour and stir in the buttermilk until the dough comes together. With a knife, a pastry cutter or simply with your hands, create or cut out the dumplings. They should be no bigger than a golf ball. Leave them to set in the fridge until required.
7. About ½ hour before the stew is ready to serve, drop in the dumplings. Leave them to cook in the stew for about 25-30 minutes until plump with the cooking juices and oozing with flavour.
8. Serve while piping hot.
TOP TIP: One of the most important steps is to make sure to sear the beef correctly at the start to enhance to the maximum flavour of the caramelisation into the stew.
Dumplings are something I love to add to a stew — but especially if we are short of bread to soak the juices from the stew. The dumplings cook and soak up just enough of the stew to make those parcels a delight.
SPICY PORK MEATBALL RAGU
Ingredients (serves 4):
■ 400g minced pork
■ 200g sausage meat
■ 2 tsp peri-peri seasoning
■ 2 onions, chopped
■ 3 scallions, chopped
■ 3 tbsp sage, chopped
■ 2 tbsp oil
■ 1 carrot, chopped
■ 3 garlic cloves, chopped
■ 2 tomatoes, chopped
■ 2 tbsp tomato puree
■ 1 tsp chilli flakes
■ 400g tin chopped tomatoes
■ 150ml chicken stock
■ Mashed potatoes
■ 4 tbsp sunflower seeds
■ Salt and pepper
1. In a bowl, combine the minced pork, sausage meat, peri-peri seasoning, half of the onion, scallions, and sage. Form walnut-sized meatballs and season.
2. Heat a sauté pan with a drizzle of oil over medium heat.
3. Add the meatballs and sauté for 3-4 minutes until coloured, stirring to ensure all sides are coloured.
4. Add the rest of the onion, carrots and sauté for a further minute.
5. Toss in the tomatoes, tomato puree, chilli flakes and garlic, and sauté for a further 2 minutes.
6. Add the chopped tomatoes, chicken stock and simmer with a lid on for a further 8-10 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through. Check the seasoning.
7. Remove from the heat and serve with a side of creamy mash and a sprinkle of sunflower seeds to add extra crunch
TOP TIP: TURN UP THE TEMPERATURE WITH A JAR OF HOMEMADE PERI-PERI
HERE’S a simple recipe for peri-peri seasoning, also known as piri-piri or African bird’s eye chilli.
Combine 2 tsp peri-peri chilli or cayenne pepper, 2 tbsp brown sugar, 2 tbsp paprika, 2 tbsp onion powder, 2 tbsp garlic powder, 2 tbsp ground coriander, 1 tbsp salt, 1 tbsp dried oregano, 1 tbsp dried parsley, 2 tsp ground ginger, 2 tsp ground cardamom and 1 tsp smoked paprika.
It will keep for a year in a sealed jar — but will be used before that!
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