25 grams unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
900 grams chuck steak, trimmed and diced
sea salt, black pepper
1 Spanish onion, peeled, halved and sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 bay leaf
minute pinch each of ground cinnamon and cloves
400ml red wine
25 grams unsalted butter
4 tablespoons marjoram leaves
15 grams unsalted butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram leaves
110 grams unsmoked back bacon, rind and fat removed, sliced
75 grams breadcrumbs
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon plain white flour, sifted
1 medium egg yolk
To make the stew, heat the oven to 170C fan oven/180C or 350F electric oven/Gas 4. Heat the butter and oil over a high heat in a medium-size flameproof casserole. Once it is sizzling, add half the meat and colour on all sides. Remove to a bowl and repeat with the remaining meat. Add to the bowl and season. Add the onion to the casserole, turn the heat down to medium and sweat for 10 minutes until soft and lightly golden, adding the garlic, bay leaf and spices towards the end. Return the meat to the casserole and pour over the wine. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook in the oven for 1 1/4 hours, stirring occasionally. By this time, the meat should be tender and the sauce well-flavoured. The stew can be made in advance and reheated.
While the stew is cooking make the dumplings. Melt the butter in a frying pan and sweat the onion with the marjoram until it is nicely scented and soft. Place the bacon in a processor and reduce to a coarsely chopped mass. Add the breadcrumbs, garlic, Parmesan, flour and the sweated marjoram, and whizz to a crumb-like mixture. Add the egg yolk to bind. Shape into balls a little smaller than a walnut, place on a plate, cover with clingfilm and chill until required.
About 20 minutes before the stew is ready, bring a pan of water to the boil. Turn it down to a simmer, lower the dumplings into the water using a slotted spoon and poach for five minutes, taking care that the water doesn't boil vigorously. Just before they're cooked, heat the 25g of butter in a frying pan and sweat the marjoram leaves until they turn crisp. Remove the dumplings to a plate, using a slotted spoon. Serve the stew with the dumplings on top, scattered with the marjoram.
courtesy of: the Independent, Independent House, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS, UK, Saturday, December 8, 2001