Spicy Beef and Chocolate Stew

Published On 10 April, 2012 | Dinner, Kosher

If you’re familiar with the holiday of Pesach (Passover) then you know just how tiring the preparation for the week-long holiday can be.   Add buying a house to the mix and you’ll have an idea as to how busy we’ve been at home-camp over the last few weeks.  We were lucky to have family visit us for Passover but no matter how far in advance we started to cook, we always seem to finish at the very last minute.

 My radio silence is not for lack of desire to write, but lack of fresh cooking in our kitchen.  We’ve been so wrapped up in the day-to-day of becoming home owners that we have put a pause on our entertaining and have been dining from our freezer!  That doesn’t mean we haven’t been eating well, I keep a well stocked freezer at all times, and there’s always a casserole, soup or stew waiting for a lazy mid-week dinner.

While you can freeze this stew, you should make the croutons fresh, or make these croutons instead, and given my affinity to La Cruset pots and pans (which happen to be on sale this week) I’d avoid the crock pot for this particular dish and give the beef the cast iron treatment!

This is not a passover recipe, but keep it in mind next week when you’re compensating for the week without bread!  You’ll need the following to serve four:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 lb good quality braising beef cut into 2.5 cm cubes
  • 1 medium size red chilli, seeded and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 can Italian plum tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1.5oz dark (parev) chocolate
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Pastry Croutons

  • Puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts

Heat the oil in the heart casserole over a medium setting. Fry the onion until beginning to soften, but not brown.  Add cubed meat and brown evenly, stirring occasionally. Stir in all the remaining ingredients with one  can of water. Season to taste.

Cover and cook in the oven for 2-2½ hours on a low heat, around 250 degrees and be sure to tir once during cooking. When the meat is tender, remove the casserole from the oven and raise the temperature for the pastry croutons.

While the casserole is cooking, roll the pastry out to the thickness of a Quarter. Cut hearts if you want it to look like my photo, or circles if they are easier and brush with a little beaten egg.  Press a few pine nuts into the centre of each. Chill the hearts on a cookie sheet for at least 1 hour before cooking the bake them for 10 to 15 minutes until they rise and have a golden brown color.

Serve a portion of the beef and chocolate casserole topped with a pastry heart or croutons.

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