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Fidel Castro - Beef Stew - Serves
This one can serve as an emergency smoke machine at parties.
Not an unusual recipe but it was highly regarded by young Dominic the
other day and he pressed me to publish.
Ingredients are not really critical apart from the burnt steak and
the burnt carrots.
Serve with roast potatoes and broccoli.
You will need (serves 4)
- 2 lb of stewing or braising steak
- 1 lb kidney, chopped with the white bits removed.
I'm told that Ox kidneys are best but I used lamb last time and they
- 1 large onion, chopped in fine slices
- 4 carrots cut in roundels or lengthways
- 2 sticks celery
- 4 big garlic cloves
- Pearl barley (optional)
- some button mushrooms (8 oz?)
- Olive oil
- Some flavourings eg all of the following (or a selection chosen from)
- small dash of soy sauce
- small dash Lea & Perrins sauce
- dessert spoon of tomato puree
- stock (if you have some)
- crumbled birds eye chillies (about 4)
Chop the onion and garlic finely and start to soften it in a pressure
cooker with a generous glug of olive oil. Or you could use a flame-proof
Take a frying pan with a very thick base (cast iron is good) add some
olive oil and get it stinking hot. Then throw in some of the steak and
cook it until it's very dark brown - almost black - stir it around a
bit so it browns all over. Then put the steak with the onions and burn
some more steak.
The burning is what gives the nice flavour. Don't put too much meat
in all at once or it will not brown as well. This process also gives
the smoke-machine effect and is likely to cause rows with your significant
(Q. "Do you really need to make so much smoke?" A. "Yes")
In the same frying pan, fry the carrots until they have a good deal
of black burnt bits on them. This too is crucial for the flavour. Put
them with the onions.
Into the pressure cooker, throw in
Bring the pressure cooker up to steam then reduce the heat so the pressure
cooker makes a small whisper of hiss. Not full blown hissing or the
stew will burn on the bottom of the pan.
Half an hour in the pressure cooker should do it, more than an hour
and the meat will fall apart.
Or 3 hours in a casserole in a low oven (say gas Mark 3). If you use
an oven, it's a good idea to increase the heat to Gas Mark 6 for the
last 20 mins to get a nice baked surface to the stew.
Adjust the seasoning. You can add a dessert spoon or two of flour to
thicken if it is very runny (mix the flour well in a cup with a little
water before adding it).
Anecdote for Americans
I'm told that Americans are generally not too keen on eating offal
(eg kidneys). It is said that there was an English restaurant in New
York which could not get people to try their "Steak & Kidney
Pie". So they minced the kidneys into the gravy and called it "London
Pie". Everyone admired the taste and wanted to know what was the
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