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Genevieve Taylor's steak chilli with smoky Cheddar cornbread dumplings
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2 tbsp olive oil
600g diced braising steak
2 red onions, chopped
2 large red peppers, roughly chopped
2 tsp chipotle chilli flakes, or to taste
2 tbsp cumin seeds
4 large or 8 smaller vine tomatoes, roughly chopped or quartered
3 cloves garlic, crushed
500ml beef stock
For the dumplings
185g self-raising flour
60g quick-cook polenta
55g extra mature Cheddar, grated
40g vegetable or beef suet
½ x 25g pack coriander, chopped, plus more to serve
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ bunch salad onions, thinly sliced, to serve
1. Prepare a fire or barbecue for cooking over direct and indirect heat, or alternatively use the hob and oven, see Cook’s tips, below. Heat the oil in a wide and deep heavy metal casserole (about 28cm across) or sturdy old pan set over the fire. Add the steak. Fry over a fairly high heat to brown the meat for about 10 minutes, stirring every now and then.
2. Add the onion, peppers, chilli flakes and cumin and cook at a medium heat, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes until the vegetables are soft and starting to colour a little. Add the tomatoes and garlic, stir-frying for about 5 minutes, then pour in the passata and beef stock. Season and cover with the lid. Raise the pan up a little, or slide it a little further from the fire, so the heat is more gentle. Simmer for 1½ hours or until the beef is tender. If the pan seems dry, add 100-200ml water.
3. Once the beef is tender, make the dumplings. Stir together the flour, polenta, Cheddar, suet, coriander and paprika. Season well, then stir in about 125ml cold water to make a rough dough. Bring it together with your hands to make a ball.
4. Divide the dough into 12-14 pieces – it shouldn’t be too sticky to make this unmanageable – and drop into the chilli, allowing dumplings to sit on the surface. Re-cover and simmer for another 25-30 minutes until the dumplings are risen and springy to the touch. To test if they are done, pierce one with a skewer; it should come out clean. Just before serving, scatter over the salad onions and coriander.
When cooking with wood or a charcoal barbecue, put the wood or charcoal on one half of the barbecue and leave the other half empty. This allows you to cook in three zones: directly (over the fire) and indirectly (off the fire), and in between for moderate heat. Control the temperature by moving the pan closer to or further away from the heat source.
To make this recipe in the kitchen, brown the beef and soften the vegetables on the hob, following the timings above. Cover and simmer on a gentle heat or transfer to a preheated oven at 160°C, gas mark 3 and cook for 1½ hours, or until the beef is tender. Add the dumplings, re-cover the pan and return to the oven for another 30 minutes, and complete the recipe as described in step 4.
Typical values per serving:
This recipe was first published in September 2021.