Saturday, November 13th

A slow day today…..in the morning, we went to the marché in nearby Argeliers but found it to be a little too small….only five vendors…..two produce, one cheese, one jewelry and one “emporter” (food to go) so we went home and took a walk along the canal picking up pinecones for tinder.

The afternoon was absorbed by preparing dinner.  I saw a recipe on a British television show that I wanted to try…..Braised Beef and Herby Dumplings…..and today seemed a good day to give it a try.  Combining an American mindset with an English recipe using French ingredients proved interesting.   

First, I had to buy the ingredients.  English recipes are given in grams….not a conversion my mind has readily adapted, but I gave it a go.  Next problem…..France doesn’t seem to have items that Americans and Brits take for granted….tomato puree, beef stock and self raising flour were nowhere to be found at the Intermarché, so I improvised.   

Within two hours, we were happily dining on this delicious casserole….it’ll remain in my repertoire and will be made again and again.  The recipe (with comments and modifications) follows:

Braised beef and herby dumplings

Serves 4

Ingredients
700g x cubed stewing steak (chuck steak) – France sells meat in Kilograms….how many kilograms is 700 grams?  Heck if I know…..I bought a piece of beef that was a little over a half kilo…..about one pound
30 g x plain flour – I used about ¼ cup
1 x tbsp tomato puree – I couldn’t find tomato puree, but since I only needed 1Tbsp, I used ketchup instead
3 x tbsp olive oil
1 x sliced onion
1 x sliced large carrot – we like carrots….I used 3 and thought it was just the right amount
1 x sliced white of leek
2 x cloves of crushed garlic
350 ml x red wine – I guessed this to be about 1 cup but added more
400ml x beef stock – I couldn’t find beef stock, so I used boullion…about 1½ cups
1 x bay leaf

Dumplings
200g x self raising flour – I decided this was about 1 cup….and made self-raising flour by adding 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt to 1 cup flour
Salt
100g x beef suet – I didn’t even look for this at the market….I used about 7 Tbsp of margarine instead
125ml x ice cold water – I used about ½ cup
1 x tbsp chopped flat leaf
Parsley
1 x tbsp chopped thyme

Method
Heat a thick bottomed casserole pan on a stove top, add a splash of oil, add the diced onion and cook for 3 minutes until browned. Next toss the diced beef with the flour and coat all over to season then add to pan. Sear beef all over so it’s browned, add the tomato puree, stir in and add the red wine and remaining vegetables, bring to a simmer and reduce wine by half. Pour in stock, add bay leaf, bring to a simmer again then cover with a lid and cook for 2 hours, simmering gently in an oven at 180 degrees C (350 degrees F).

Whilst beef is cooking take the dumpling ingredients and sieve the flour and a pinch of salt. Mix with the suet and make a well in the centre, add the cold water and herbs and mix to a firm paste. Mould into small balls and in the last 30 minutes of cooking the beef, pop the dumplings on top of the stew. Cook through for the remaining 30 minutes, season and serve.

braised beef and dumplings 

Bon appetit! 

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About Languedoc Lady

I'm a newly retired woman from California getting ready to spend a year (or more) with my husband living the good life in Languedoc in the southwest of France.
This entry was posted in Canal du Midi, France, Retirement, Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Saturday, November 13th

  1. Susi Folks says:

    You seem to be having the BEST of times. I am so happy for you. You write so beautifully and make it all sound so wonderful. It makes the cheese sandwich eaten at my desk so uninspiring. Even your cat is having more fun than our cat. She is having kidney issues and simlpy drinks water and pee’s all day and all night! What a life! Thank you for letting us see how the “other half” lives!

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