Thursday, 15 August 2013

Old School Beef Casserole with Cheesy Polenta Dumplings and Simple Vanilla Ice Cream

It has been a while since my last post because my husband and I had a lovely weekend away in the Clare Valley.  The food and wine was spectacular and we had a great stay at the Clare Country Club.  I definitely recommend it.  Beautiful view of the lake, great food, great service.  Meanwhile, on the home front, the kids were sick, so we have had a busy few days with doctors appointments and just looking after little people.

I thought I would share with you this great casserole dish that I got from my Granny when she was still with us.  It is a lovely, homely recipe with the surprise of the cheese dumplings to soak up all the juices.  It is a complete meal in itself and needs no sides.  I have, of course, tweaked it a bit to make it allergy friendly.  Feel free to tell me what you think in the comments.  I believe it was originally published in a Readers Digest cookbook called One-Dish Meals, the Easy Way, but has been altered a few times since then.


1.5 kg chuck steak, cut into cubes
1/4 cup maize flour
generous pinch salt and pepper
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 leek, chopped
2 sticks celery
2 green capsicums, cored and sliced into rings
1 cup homemade beef stock (see previous post)
2 cups Nomato sauce (see previous post)
1/4 cup tamari soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
Mixed herbs and spices to taste

3 cups water
Good pinch salt
1 cup polenta
30g butter or dairy free spread
1 cup grated Colby cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
Paprika for garnish

Dredge the cubed beef in flour, salt and pepper.  In a frypan, heat the oil until smoking, add the beef and brown for 6-7 mins.  Place in a large casserole dish.  To the frypan, add the veg and cook for 5 mins, stirring occasionally.  Add the sauces, stock, herbs and spices and bring to boil.  Put into the casserole dish with the beef and mix to combine.  Place in a 180C oven and bake for an hour.

Prepare the dumplings.  Bring the water to a boil and add the polenta and salt.  Reduce to low heat and simmer for 15 mins stirring occasionally.  When thickened, remove from the heat and beat in the butter, cheese and egg.  Remove the casserole from the oven, and arrange the polenta in mounds on the top.  Sprinkle with paprika.  Return to the oven for 30 mins.

To follow and extravaganza of this nature, you need something simple.  Here is a really simple Vanilla Ice Cream recipe that I got out of the cookbook for my icecream machine.  I refuse to buy icecream for my kids as it is such a hotbed of additives, sugar and, unfortunately, wheat in that sneaky glucose syrup.  By making my own, which only takes a few minutes of prep, I know what they are eating, as well as the quality of my ingredients.  This recipe comes from the Cuisinart Recipe Booklet and it is really yummy.  It is smooth and creamy with a strong vanilla taste, perfect on a chocolate pudding or in a GF cone.


1 cup whole milk (I use skim and it is lovely)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch salt
2 cups thickened cream (I use light)
1 tbsp pure vanilla essence

Whisk together sugar, salt and milk, until the sugar has dissolved.  Add the cream and essence and mix to combine.

Here, the recipe suggests you chill for 2 hours, but I have found pouring straight into the ice cream maker works fine.  Refrigerate if you like, or just churn until frozen.  This will be a very soft consistency, so you will need to freeze for a short time to firm it up.  Store in an airtight container in the freezer.

Makes 5 cups of ice cream.

1 comment:

  1. I liked it so much I ate it twice (lunch the next day!)