Dark Chocolate and Beef Slow Cooked Stew

I am not sure whether to call this a stew, casserole or a ragu, but this ‘cook in a bag’ dish is so rich and flavoursome, that it is almost showy.  Don’t get all caught up on the cook in a bag bit as I was all ..‘these are so 1980s’ when I first bought them.  I have been road testing them this week and they seem to cut a lot of time out of the cooking.  With a dish like this, they also harbour all of the steam and heat with makes the beef that much more tender.  One of the most attractive things about the oven bag is, that when doing a slow-cooked meal that actually has to be on the table in an hour or two at a push (and should be cooked for a long 4 hours+), it is much more expedient. If you have ever cooked something for 12 hours you know what the pan looks like, with an oven bag, the cleaning up is so much easier.  Which I think takes this meal from a 9.5 out of 10 to a certain 10/10.

You read the title right, this scrumptious dish really does have chocolate in it. However, it has to be the deepest of the dark variety and go for the good stuff. The dark chocolate has to be 90% cacao or above. It is not the sweetness of the chocolate we are after but more the depth of flavour that when combined with all these other delicious ingredients, becomes an absolute show stopper!

Once on the plate, this dish has so much flavour that you really don’t need very much alongside it, just some steamed fresh green vegetables, some crusty bread and a bottle of bold red wine.

Dishes like this one is what winter really is all about xx

Ingredients

  • 400 gm stewing steak cut into 4 cm chunks
  • ½ cup plain flour seasoned with salt and white pepper
  • 3 medium-sized carrots chopped finely
  • 3 stalks of celery chopped finely
  • 4 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
  • 2 brown onions finely chopped.
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 50 gm Lindt or Green & Blacks 90% dark chocolate
  • ½ cup of red wine
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 large oven bag
  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees

Method

In a large pan add a glug of olive oil and saute the chopped onions until they start to colour then add the garlic, celery, carrots and keep stirring for 5-10 minutes or until the vegetables soften. Switch off heat

Heat a large pan on a high heat and add a ¼ cup of olive oil or enough to cover the bottom of the pot.

In a bowl mix the plain flour and seasoning and lightly coat the beef. Then a few pieces at a time, add them to the heated oil.  Brown on all sides then add the beef cubes to the vegetables. Repeat until all of the beef is browned and mixed with the vegetables.  

Transfer the beef and vegetables into the oven bag.  I placed the bag into a bowl so that it made it easier to scoop in the vegetables.   Add in the can of tomatoes, the wine, water, the remaining seasoned flour from the beef, chocolate and bay leaves and seal up the bag carefully piercing a small hole underneath the tie.  Place the lid on the pot and put into the oven.  Cook for an hour and a half.  Carefully remove the pot from the oven and allow to sit on the stove for 10 minutes before serving.  The bag will be extremely hot so please be careful removing the tie.  The sauce should be thickened in the bag and bubbling.  Give the mixture a stir before serving to ensure all ingredients are distributed thoroughly.