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Winter for us is all about slow cooking, rich hearty flavours, candlelight, snuggly blankets, crackling fires and surrounding yourself with those that you love.
Every Kiwi household has their own version of a “stew”. Basically it starts with a flavour base of braised vegetables, then some robust flavours such as wine or beer, a beautiful secondary cut of beef, rich stock, and a big dollop of time.
This stew recipe also celebrates traditional Brazilian cheese balls, pão de queijo. Crispy on the outside and decadently chewy on the inside, pão de queijo are made using tapioca flour − a starch extracted from the storage roots of the cassava plant. The flour has been called the holy grail of gluten-free flours; as well as adding a crispy cheesy goodness to the top of this stew, the cheese balls are also a sensational gluten-free nibble served hot out of the oven with aioli on the side.
¾ cup flour 2 tsp sea salt 2 tsp smoked paprika 1 tsp ground turmeric ½ tsp ground cumin 1 tsp garlic powder ½ tsp cracked black pepper 1.5kg diced beef (approx 3cm − we use topside, trimmed of large pieces of fat) 6 Tbsp olive oil 2 large onions, peeled and finely diced 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed 2 carrots, peeled and chopped 2 sticks celery, chopped 750ml Guinness 50g butter 250g button mushrooms, washed and sliced 250g portobello mushrooms, washed and sliced 4 Tbsp tomato paste Generous handful fresh thyme, finely chopped
Heat oven to 170℃
Mix flour with salt, paprika, turmeric, cumin, garlic powder and pepper in a large bowl. Evenly coat beef pieces in the flour mix. (Or, if you can get your hands on some Traegers Big Game Rub, we sometimes add 4 tsp of this to the flour instead or the individual spices).
Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in a pan. Over a medium heat, fry the beef in batches until browned, adding more oil as needed. Remove and place in heavy casserole dish.
In the same pan add 1 Tbsp oil, and sauté the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery for five minutes. Pour in Guinness to deglaze pan and add vegetable mix to the beef in casserole dish.
Add butter to pan and sauté mushrooms for 3-4 minutes, seasoning with salt.
Add mushrooms to beef with tomato paste and thyme.
Cover with lid and bake for three hours, stirring half hourly (If you do not have a casserole dish with a lid, make sure that your dish is well sealed with tinfoil).
While stew is cooking, prepare pão de queijo as below.
Pão de queijo:
(makes approx 20)
1 cup whole milk ½ cup vegetable oil 1 ½ tsp table salt 2 ½ cups tapioca flour 1 egg, whisked ¾ cup parmesan cheese, grated ¼ cup smoked cheddar, grated 20 x 1 cm cubes mozzarella cheese
In a medium pot, heat milk, oil, and salt, until just coming to the boil.
Remove from heat and while still hot, immediately beat in tapioca flour with a wooden spoon. Dough will be grainy and gelatinous.
Add dough to electric mixer, and beat for 2–3 minutes, adding grated cheese and egg, ensuring it’s well mixed.
Roll into tablespoon-size balls, inserting mozzarella cube in each centre and covering it completely with dough.
After cooking stew for 3 hours, increase heat to 200℃ and top stew with pão de queijo, then remove the lid. Bake for a further 25–30 mins or until balls are golden and crispy. Alternatively you can bake the pão de queijo separately on an oven tray and put them on top of stew, or on the side for dipping.