Each region in France uses their own local red wine for this dish, so you don’t need to use a bottle of Burgundy. Dumplings made from leftover baguettes make a great alternative to potatoes, as well as soaking up the juices from the stew.
- 900 g (2 lb) beef shin or stewing beef, cut into 6 large chunks
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 150 g (5Â½ oz) lardons or cubes of smoked bacon
- 10 button onions or shallots, peeled
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed flat
- 1 bay leaf
- bunch parsley, stalks only
- sprig of thyme
- sprig of rosemary
- 3 cloves
- 10 peppercorns, crushed
- 500 ml (18 fl oz) red wine
- 1 tbsp tomato purÃ©e
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 10 chestnut mushrooms
- parsley leaves, chopped, to garnish
For the dumplings
- 200 g (7 oz) stale baguette or other bread (crust included)
- handful chopped parsley
- 250 ml (9 oz) milk
- pinch of nutmeg
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 free-range egg
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- butter, for frying
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Make the stew the day before to give the flavours time to develop. Add the mushrooms before gently reheating (no boiling). The dumplings can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas 2.
Dust each piece of meat with flour. Heat the oil in a large casserole over a high heat and fry the meat in batches until browned. Remove each batch, keeping the oil, then fry the lardons, onions and garlic in the same pan until golden brown. Add the herbs and spices and return the meat to the pan. Add 300 ml/10 fl oz water, the wine, tomato paste, sugar and salt. Scrape up the caramelised bits as they will add flavour.
Cover, place in the oven, and cook for three hours or until the meat is tender and almost falling apart.
Cut the baguette into small cubes and place in a bowl. Add the parsley. Bring the milk to a boil and pour over. Stir so that the milk is absorbed evenly, then cover and leave for 15 minutes. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper, stir in the egg, and mix in one tablespoon flour. If the mix is too wet (it should be moist and only slightly sticky), add a second spoon of flour. Wet your hands a little to help stop the dough sticking to them, then make 12–14 dumplings (smaller than a golf ball).
About 20 minutes before the stew is ready, add the mushrooms into the stew and season with salt to taste.
Meanwhile, heat a knob of butter in a large frying pan and fry the dumplings on a medium heat for five minutes or until golden-brown and crisp, then drain.
Garnish the stew with parsley and serve with the dumplings.
Recipes from Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo (Michael Joseph, 2012). Text © 2012 by Rachel Khoo. Photography by David Loftus.