I was all set to make a chicken paella this morning, that was until I learnt about the ‘Waiter there’s something in my stew’ challenge  which ends tonight. See these days nothing gets me more excited than the 101 food blog challenges that seem to pop up every other minute. I mostly enjoy them because I think they are great way to find new interesting bloggers, and likewise it’s a good way for bloggers to find me I also enjoy them because they force me to revisit my recipe books in new and creative ways.
Stews are something that I don’t make as often as I did a few years ago so I thought it would be interesting to revisit one, a local recipe this time around, that exemplifies the multicultural fusion nature of Trinidadian cooking. From the African influence of initially caramelizing meat, to the European addition of beer, to the presence of Asian soy sauce the only thing that this dish was missing was some curry! But don’t worry I served it with a side of caramelized and fried curried onions… so yum!
And don’t worry, I -will- eventually get around to making that chicken paella as well
Trinidad Stew Beef with Herbed Dumplings
(adapted from a recipe in the Naparima Girls’ High School Cookbook )
2 lbs stewing beef, cubed
2 tbsp oil
4 tbsp sugar
2 large onions, sliced
1 bottle beer (12 oz)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp basil
salt and pepper to taste
dumplings (recipe below)
1. In a heavy frying pan or skillet, heat oil, add sugar and allow to burn until dark brown. (It has been pointed out to me by Marsha and Sylvie in the comments below that I should emphasize the -until dark brown- part … you don’t want it to turn black… this can happen in the blink of an eye so be vigilant. If the sugar ‘siezes’ up when the meat is added don’t stress either, it will redissolve)
2. Add seasoned beef and stir well to coat pieces of meat
3. Cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring constantly
4. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes more
5. Stir in beer, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves and basil
6. Bring to the boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer until meat is tender (60-90 minutes)
7. Add dumplings to hot stew
Sift 1 cup flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt. Stir in 1/2-1 cup coconut milk. Dough should be soft not stiff. Add 1 tsp dried herbs.
Drop by spoonfuls.
8. Cover and continue to cook for 15 minutes
9. Adjust salt and pepper and remove bay leaves
10. Serve with rice and vegetables
Makes 6-8 servings