I added chocolate to stew. Yes I did.
To be fair, chocolate is now a staple addition to chilli, so why not to stew too. Ha, that rhymes.
I didn’t come up with the idea completely on my own. I knew that I wanted to do a savoury chocolate dish for chocolate week, but chilli seemed an obvious choice. So I consulted Rococo: Mastering the Art of Chocolate to gain some inspiration.
In it there was a recipe for a Grenadian stew, loaded with scotch bonnet chillies and just a little bit of chocolate.
I love stews. I love the fact that you can throw everything into a large cast iron pot, leave it to do its own thing for 3 hours or so and then tuck into a plate of comforting warmth that wants to give you a hug from the inside out.
And this time of year is prime stew season.
I scaled down the chillies (because I am a wimp when it comes to the fiery red peppers) and added some beans and mushrooms for more flavour (and vegetable content) and chucked in a stock cube or two.
To be honest, you wouldn’t know the chocolate was there if no-one told you. You are not supposed to be able to taste it, it’s there to add an underlying richness to this meaty stew. I know it’s such a small amount that you may wonder why on earth you should bother adding it, but please do.
I’m sure you’ve got a little bit of chocolate hanging around that needs a good home. What better place than this satisfying and hearty pot of goodness.
Beef Stew with Chocolate
- 2 tbsp flavourless oil, such as rapeseed or sunflower
- 750g beef skirt, or stewing steak or oxtail, cut into chunks
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 1 red chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped, use more if you like things hot
- 1 large clove of garlic, crushed or grated
- 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- handful of fresh chives, cut into smallish pieces
- couple of sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed from the stalks
- 2 beef stock cubes
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- juice of 1/2 lime
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 750ml water
- 6 – 8 mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tin of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed, 235g drained weight
- 6g dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat the oil in a large casserole / cast iron pot over a medium heat.
- Brown the beef in batches and set aside.
- Add the onion to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes, until it starts to go translucent. Then add the chilli, garlic, ginger, tomato puree, chives, thyme, stock cubes, lemon & lime juice and salt. Stir to combine.
- Return the meat to the pan and add the water. Bring to the boil, then cover with a well-fitting lid, reduce the heat to low and leave to simmer for approximately 3 hours, until the meat is tender.
- Add the mushrooms, beans and chocolate and simmer for a further 15 minutes. If the sauce is a little thin, thicken it was a little cornflour and water.
- Serve with rice.
© The Pink Rose Bakery 2014