The perfect winter dish of fragrant, slow-braised beef with a mellow warmth from the chilli and the sweet tang of pomegranate molasses. All topped with light polenta dumplings.
½ cup plain flour
1 kilogram diced braising beef
olive oil, to cook
150 grams streaky bacon, roughly chopped
2 large onions, thickly sliced
2 carrots, peeled, grated
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ teaspoon chilli flakes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1½ cups good-quality beef stock
sea salt and ground pepper
11/3 cups plain flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
½ cup instant polenta
1 cup grated cheddar cheese, plus extra for topping
1 teaspoon sea salt
150ml milk, plus a little more if needed
1 large egg, size 7, lightly beaten
small handful parsley, chopped
Preheat the oven to 160°C fan bake.
Beef Pie: Place the flour in a large bowl and season generously.
Add the beef and toss well, shaking off the excess flour. Reserve the remaining flour. Heat a little oil in a sauté pan and brown the beef on all sides. You will have to do this in batches, adding
a little more oil between batches. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to an ovenproof baking dish and set aside.
Add the bacon to the pan and cook for 3 minutes then add the onions, carrots, garlic and chilli. Add a good pinch of salt and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often. Sprinkle over the remaining flour and stir in, then add the tomato paste and soy sauce. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the pomegranate molasses, sugar and stock and bring to the boil. Pour over the beef then place a piece of baking paper over the meat and cover tightly with a lid or foil. Cook for 2–3 hours or until very tender when pierced with a skewer.
Polenta and Cheese Dumplings: Increase the oven temperature to 180°C fan bake. Combine the flour, baking powder, polenta, cheese and salt in a large bowl. Mix the milk and egg together and stir in until just combined. Add a little more milk if the mixture is too dry. Pull off small clumps of the dough and place on top of the meat. Grate over extra cheese and cook for 20 minutes until puffed and golden.
To serve: Top with chopped parsley to garnish. Serves 6.