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Beef Casserole with cheese and potato dumplings

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This recipe is one you have to try if you are a lover of comfort food. I had never made dumplings before, but these are cheesy and tender and wonderful and the casserole is bursting with magnificent flavours.

The first time I made this, I did kind of freak out. The recipe calls for 1/3 cup of red wine vinegar. Well, I thought it sounded like rather a lot of vinegar, but I put it in anyway. I was horrified with how the kitchen started to smell like vinegar and I was convinced the whole dish was ruined. However, I persisted and it was well worth it. As the cooking time continued, the smell subsided and at the end of the cook time I had a taste test and all the flavours had melded beautifully.

I really hope you give this one a try.

Beef Casserole with cheese and potato dumplings

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1kg gravy beef or chuck steak, cut into cubes
  • 4 shallots, peeled, finely sliced
  • 4 bacon rashers, rind removed, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced 
  • 300g mushrooms, chopped roughly
  •  1 x 400gm can diced tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups of beef stock
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar

Potato dumplings

  • 2 large (about 400gm) desiree potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 60gm of butter
  • 1 1/2 cups of self-raising flour
  • 3/4 cup of coarsely grated cheddar
  • 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan
  • 2 tbs of chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • A pinch of salt

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C. Heat half the oil in a large casserole dish over medium-high heat. Add half the beef and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until brown. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining beef.

Heat remaining oil over medium heat. Add bacon and once golden, add onion, garlic and a few pinches of salt, and cook until onion is translucent. Add beef, mushrooms, tomato, stock, tomato paste and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil.

Cover and bake in oven for 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, to make potato dumplings, place potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over medium-high heat and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until tender.

Drain well and return to pan. Add milk and butter and use a potato masher to mash until smooth. Stir in flour, cheddar, parmesan and parsley. Taste and season with salt.

Remove casserole from oven. Use a 1/4-cup capacity measuring cup to shape potato mixture into six dumplings. Arrange over casserole. Cook, uncovered, for a further 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly before serving.

Serve with some crusty bread to soak up the juices. Serves 6.

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