Beef cobbler with cheddar and rosemary scones

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I decided to try a savoury bake this weekend. This week was a week of birthdays at work so by the time my colleagues had munched their way through my Salted Caramel Billionaire’s Flapjack on Tuesday and then cake nearly every other day I think we all need a break next week (well until maybe Friday!)

I had seen this Paul Hollywood recipe ages ago and pinned it to my ‘Recipes to try’ board on Pinterest. After making Mary Berry’s Cottage pie with dauphinoise potato a couple of weeks ago we had some red wine that needed using up so decided yesterday was the day to give it a go. I normally fail to make a decent beef casserole but I have to say this was delicious. The recipe says to use a metal casserole dish but we don’t own one so I cooked everything in a frying pan before transferring it to a glass casserole dish in the oven. The original recipe is for 6 people but as it was just the two of us I halved the quantities to make enough for 3 (leaving a portion for the freezer). The original recipe uses malt flour and wholemeal self-raising flour which I didn’t have so just added a teaspoon of baking powder to some wholemeal flour and increased the amount of self-raising and wholemeal flour to make up for the missing malt flour.

Ingredients:

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For the stew
45ml vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons plain flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper
400g chuck steak or stewing steak (cut into cubes)
1 onion (sliced)
1 carrot (cut into chunks)
1 stick celery (cut into 2cm/1in pieces – I didn’t use this)
1 leek (washed and cut into thick rings)
1/2 tablespoon tomato purée
300ml red wine
300ml beef stock
1 bay leaf

For the wholemeal cheese scone topping
55g self-raising flour
65g/3½oz wholemeal self-raising flour
pinch salt
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
75g cheddar cheese (grated)
85ml full fat milk (I used semi-skimmed)
1 egg (beaten)
Extra flour (for dusting)
Parsley (to garnish – I didn’t use)

Method:
1) Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
2) Season the flour with salt and pepper. Toss the steak in the flour so each piece is coated.
3) Heat half the oil in a casserole dish (or frying pan) and fry the meat in batches until browned all over. Remove from the pan and set to one side.

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4) Heat the remaining oil in the same pan and fry the onion, carrots, celery and leek until just coloured. Stir in the tomato purée and cook for another two minutes.

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5) Pour the wine into the pan and heat through. Using a wooden spoon, scrape any charred meat and vegetables from the bottom of the pan. Add the stock, bay leaf and return the beef to the pan (or transfer to your casserole dish if using a glass one like me).

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6) Cover with a lid and cook in the oven for 1½ hours in the preheated oven (alternatively cook on the hob over a very low heat for 1½ hours).
7) Meanwhile, make the cobbler topping. Mix the flours in a bowl. Add the salt, chopped rosemary and 50g of the cheese. Slowly add the milk and bring the mixture together (you may not need all of the milk – I did). Try not to overwork the mixture too much.

8) Tip the mixture onto a floured surface and bring together to form a soft dough. Form the dough into a rough circle keeping it quite thick (about 2.5cm). Cut out 4 scone-sized circles (I managed 4 large and 1 small).

9) Brush the tops of the scones with beaten egg and sprinkle over the remaining cheese.

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10) Remove the stew from the oven and place the scones on top of the stew. Increase the oven temperature to 220C/425F/Gas 7. Return the stew to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes until the scones are golden-brown.

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11) Serve (with a sprinkle of chopped parsley and vegetables of your choice).

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