When Christine of Anna Antonia asked me to take part in a blogging event that required 3 bloggers to come up with a 3-course meal, I was incredibly excited – and when Christie of ASausageHasTwo joined, our theme was a no-brainer: English-Swabian fusion food.
The idea o the ‘Flotter Dreier’ (a daring innuendo, I have to say, referring to things three people could do together that aren’t traditionally food-related) came from Dorothée at Bushcook, who then got Zorra’s Kochtopf involved. The rest is history, and I am very much looking forward to what’s on offer!
As for our own menu, as both Christine and I grew up in Swabia, our first instinct was to go with something traditionally Swabian. Christie, on the other hand, hails from England, where I now live. Surely there would be ways to combine dishes and ideas from both cuisines! It was just a question of pooling ideas, deciding on dishes and, well, serving them up.
After a little to and fro we ended up with the following: a Shropshire Cheese and Onion Jam Dinette, the latter being the Swabian equivalent of a pizza, enhanced (and anglicised) by the addition of very English ingredients and accompaniments. This is followed by the incredibly English beef and stout stew: slow cooked to perfection, I’ll be serving it with Spätzle – perfect for mopping up those incredible juices! Christie will be following it up with – what else! – a Black Forest Trifle. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our English-Swabian co-production!
And to give you an idea of what such a co-production would sound like, I present you with the speech given by the mayor of Langenburg to welcome Queen Elisabeth II during her visit in 1965. Trust me, he speaks English.
The recipe follows the queen of English food, Delia Smith, often credited with inventing English cuisine ca. 1998, with her TV series ‘How To Cook.’ Her use of shin in particular appealed to me, as Swabians are traditionally stingy and love using cheap cuts. The bone gives the stew an incredible aroma, which is further brought out through the slow cooking.
To serve it with Spätzle was a no-brainer: anything that comes with gravy needs a picker upper, and their lightness provides the perfect balance to the earthiness of the stew. Some steamed peas and carrots finish it off – and a glass of stout, Guinness or a local variety, makes for a hearty main course. Following on from the crunchy Dinette, this stew picks up on the slight sweetness of the onion jam but takes it one step further with the light bitterness of the stout.
Beef and Guinness Stew with Spätzle (serves 4-6)
For the Stew:
- 1.5 kg shin of beef
- 4 tbs plain flour
- salt, pepper
- 3 onions, quartered
- 450ml stout
- 200ml stock (vegetable or beef)
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 sprigs of thyme
- 2 carrots, cut into chunks
- 1 parsnip, cut into thick slices
- 3-4 stems of celery, cut into thick slices
For the Spätzle:
- 300g plain flour
- 3 eggs
- 3-4 tbs sparkling water
Preheat your oven to 200C / 400F. Cut off the outer sinew on the beef and cut it into 2in / 5cm chunks. Sprinkle the flour over the dice, and season them generously with salt and pepper. Place a knob of butter at the bottom of a large, heavy casserole and melt it over a medium heat. Layer the meat, onions and vegetables, seasoning them as you go along.
Add the herbs, the stout and the stock, close the lid and bring it all to boil. Make sure the lid is closed, you might want to place a sheet of tinfoil between the casserole and the lid, before you place the dish into the hot oven. It will take around 4 1/2 hours to cook.
In the meantime, prepare your Spätzle by beating the ingredients until you have a well-mixed batter. Using either a board and scraper or a colander, prepare the Spätzle and place them in a buttered form as you proceed. Keep them warm by placing a sheet of tinfoil over the form.
Serve the stew with the Spätzle and some steamed vegetables on the side. At this time of the year, you want to steam some fresh peas! And a glass of stout, obviously! And then head over to Christie’s, to check out her incredibly Black Forest Trifle…