Beef stew with chocolate and prunes

This is madly delicious. The original recipe is in Honey from a Weed by Patience Grey.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 kg beef, cut to about the size and shape of a large thumb
  • 1 onion, halved and finely sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 glass of spanish brandy
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 50g dark chocolate
  • a pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 bunch of herbs, include thyme, bay, parsley
  • 200ml white wine or noilly prat
  • 300ml water
  • 12 fine prunes
  • olive oil
  • 2 potatoes per person, peeled and cubed.

METHOD:

  • Soak the prunes for an hour.
  • Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a pan, and brown the meat. When it is browned, put it in a casserole dish.
  • Fry the sliced onion in the olive oil, with the unpeeled garlic cloves, until the onions are soft and beginning to brown.
  • Add the tomatoes to the frying pan, with the brandy, and wine. Simmer for around 20 minutes
  • Add the paprika, bitter chocolate, and the cinnamon, and the herbs.
  • Stir in the water, and cook for a few minutes, before pouring this over the meat in the casserole dish.
  • Simmer in a moderate oven, around 140C, for 2 hours.
  • Cook the prunes for 1/2 an hour in a very little water, and drain them.
  • Fry the cubes of potato in hot oil until they are golden.
  • Serve the stew on a platter, with the fried potatoes at one end, and the stewed prunes the other.

Pork with prunes in wine.

This was amazing; the first time I cooked it, I was still telling people about it for days afterwards. I got the recipe from Frances Bissell’s book, the Organic Meat cookbook. I used a random bit of Ken Wilson’s pork, and some white wine from the fridge. The book specifies a cut that I didn’t have, and some wine that I didn’t have. It was still amazingly delicious. Serves 2.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tenderloin of pork approx 250g, sliced 1 inch thick
  • 8 large prunes
  • 150ml Vouvray or other white wine
  • 1oz butter
  • 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 4 tbsp double cream
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Soak the prunes in the wine for at least 6 hours
  • Melt the butter and cook the shallots very slowly until soft
  • Turn up the heat, and add the meat, browning on both sides
  • Add the wine and prunes, and bring to a simmer: cook until the pork is tender
  • Stir in the redcurrant jelly, lemon zest, cream, salt and pepper. Bring to simmering point, and stir to amalgamate the cream with the sauce.

I served this with new potatoes and braised spring cabbage. Delicious.