6 ISSUES FOR JUST £6 Subscribe to EADT Suffolk today CLICK HERE

Latest Column from Tom Parker Bowles

16:36 24 October 2012

Latest Column from Tom Parker Bowles

Latest Column from Tom Parker Bowles

This month, Tom shares his tasty recipe for Mexican Beef Stew...

A few years back, in the dark days of British gastronomy, stew was a dirty word. Here was a dish that seemed cheap and dreary, a bowl of mean necessity rather than delectable sophistication. So if chefs wanted to flog their slow-cooked mass of beef or lamb, theyd name it casserole. Hidden behind this veneer of Gallic lan, the humble one pot classic suddenly became the height of European chic.


But however you describe this ancient dish braise, pot roast, hotpot or ragout theres no doubting its appeal. Tough cuts of meat the ones that have actually done some work on a beast are slow cooked in liquid until all that collagen breaks down. The result is sweet, silken and succulent strands of meat that can be cut with a spoon.


I once asked Marco Pierre White about the technical difference between a stew, braise and casserole. He paused for a second and I moved closer, so as to capture every last pearl of wisdom issuing forth. Then he smiled and said, No bloody difference at all.


Stew is a forgiving dish too, suitable for even the most cack-handed amateur. As it uses the less venerated cuts, from shin of beef and oxtail to breast of lamb and shoulder of pork, stew is a cheap dish, but should never be a mean one. And any carnivorous culture will have its own version. Ive eaten Cochinia pibil in Mexico, where great chunks of pork are marinated in orange juice and annatto (a vivid red paste made form the seeds of the achiote tree). Ive devoured offal stuffed kare kare in the Philippines, paprika charged Hungarian goulash, Japanese chankonabe and more versions of pot au feus in France that I can remember. Back home, there are endless regional variations; the crisp topped beauty of a proper Lancashire hotpot; Lobscouse, or Scouse, a classic Liverpudlian stew with roots in the far north of Europe. And cawl, the Welsh national dish that is as delicate and elegant a concoction as youll ever taste, along with the steadfastly robust steak and ale stew, best served atop a great mound of buttery mashed potato.

There are few set rules when it comes to stew. I like to brown my meat first. Not because it seals in the juices (it doesnt), rather it gives another layer of caramelised flavour to the finished dish. Use a searing hot pan and brown (not grey) the meat in small batches so they dont overcrowd the pan. A good cast iron casserole is essential, As to the actual liquid, you can use anything from wine and beer to orange juice, beef stock and passatta. Many need nothing apart from water. The slow cooked meat infuses the liquid and creates it own stock. And thats the joy. From the simplest ingredients comes edible joy, blissfully tender pieces of meat, lolling in the richest of sauces. Its the very definition of winter comfort.

Mexican Beef Stew

This has chipotle at its heart, dried and smoked jalapenos. They have a wonderful rich depth and really make the stew. They can be bought online from The Cool Chile Co. Its not exactly authentically Mexican, but very easy to make. Serves 4


Ingredients


Olive oil, a fat glug
2 lbs braising steak or shin, cut into inch cubed chunks
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
700g jar of passata
Big pinch Mexican oregano
4-8 chopped chipotles, soaked for about an hour first in warm water.
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 bay leaves
Big pinch of sea salt


To serve
Fresh tortillas
Big bunch coriander, chopped
Pot of sour cream
Grated cheddar cheese, a handful


1. Brown meat, in batches. Then add onions and garlic and soften.


2. Add passata, vinegar, salt, chillies, garlic, bay leaves and oregano


3. Cook for 2 hours 20, covered, in oven at 150c.

4. Serve with fresh tortillas, sours cream, coriander and grated cheese.

0 comments

Shop with us at Great British Life

More from Food & Drink

Wednesday, February 3, 2016
The EADT Suffolk Food and Drink Awards 2015 at Milsom's Kesgrave Hall
Food and Drink Hero sponsored by BBC Radio Suffolk - winner Justine Paul

It’s time to nominate your favourite local foodie people and products for the EADT Suffolk Food and Drink Awards 2016

Read more
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Strip out the stems and mid ribs

February is an odd month in the vegetable garden, says Linda Duffin – you’re still dealing with hard, icy ground and winter temperatures, but you’re keen to get ahead before the mad hurly-burly of spring planting.

Read more
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Adnams craft beer

Beer sommelier Ross Turner ponders the enduring appeal of lager. Do recent acquisitions by the mega brewers spell the end of local craft brews?

Read more
Monday, January 25, 2016
Valentines Day food shoot with ideas from Charlotte Smith Jarvis.

Charlotte Smith-Jarvis shares recipes for a French-inspired supper to share with the one you love. Photos: Sarah Lucy-Brown

Read more
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
7 essentials for the British baker

Calling all baking fanatics! Whether you’re hosting afternoon tea, there’s a cake sale on at work, or you just want to while away the afternoon in the kitchen, we’ve picked eight of our favourite essentials for the British baker.

Read more
Thursday, January 14, 2016
Chris and Hayley Lee outside the Bildeston Crown

Tessa Allingham goes to see Chris and Hayley Lee, newly returned to the Bildeston Crown

Read more
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Breakfast food shoot with recipes by  Charlotte Smith-Jarvis.

If your new year food resolutions include starting the day with a proper breakfast Charlotte Smith-Jarvis’ suggestions could be just what you need. Photos: Sarah Lucy Brown

Read more
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
kale

Need some digestive relief after the Christmas blow-out? Brassicas can be an interesting and zingy way to liven up New Year palates, suggests Stephen David, chef-director of Bespoke Events

Read more
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Ross Turner with the new range of Adnams craft beers.

What exactly is craft beer anyway? Suffolk beer sommelier Ross Turner begins his monthly column with an update on latest developments in the world of brewing, starting with Adnams in Southwold, where he’s proud to be a brewery tour guide

Read more
Monday, December 21, 2015
Breakfast time

We have selected 8 places to try out for breakfast in Suffolk. After all, it’s the most important meal of the day.

Read more

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Suffolk's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search