Wednesday, 23 December 2009

The Netherlands - Limburg Beef Stew with Apples

As I was learning about Limburg, I came across a really interesting website called http://www.worldcook.net/   It's available in English and Dutch, which makes me think it must be hosted by someone in the Netherlands.  Anyway, as I spent last weekend with my sister, chilling out in Leeds, I decided to cook a traditional Limburg Beef Stew with Apples.  The full recipe can be found at http://www.worldcook.net/Cooking/WorldRecipes/Limburg-recipes.htm

To be honest, it's dead easy to make, so the recipe is only really needed as a rough guide.  Something I've meant to do in the past is photo-document the entire process, so I've done this here, as a kind of experiment.

First, the ingredients.  Some beef casserole pieces, 2 or 3 onions, some nice (in my case, Irish) butter, 3 green apples, 5 cloves, 3 or 4 bay leaves and two tablespoons of sugar and of vinegar. 
For my mash, I prepared potatoes and parsnips - the parsnips weren't part of the original recipe, but I like to mash them with potato, as they give it a slightly sweeter taste.  I also added a spoonful of butter and a splash of milk to my mash to make it softer. 

The next step was to fry the meat in butter until it browned, then adding the chopped onions until they softened.  This took about 15 minutes in all.  After that I added the cloves, bay leaves, sugar and vinegar - stirring them into the mixture.  I topped this with two cups of water (I decided not to use any stock, as this wasn't in the original recipe and I think this was a good idea). 

I brought the stew to the boil and then covered and simmered it for one hour.  The original recipe says simmer the stew for two hours and then another hour with the apples in - but I decided this was too much and it still turned out really yummy.

After stewing for one hour, I prepared the apples, mixing them into the stew.  I thought the pieces (which you can see in the photo) were way too big, so I took them out again and halved them, although I'm not sure it made much difference in the end, as the apple stewed so well, it formed a kind of sauce with the liquid and spices.  I stewed the mixture with the apples for a further 45 minutes.

Whilst the apples were stewing, I boiled the potatoes and parsnips and prepared the mash, then served it all up and, although it doesn't look like much, after nearly two hours work - it sure tasted delicious!  One thing I might add next time, to see whether or not it works, is a sprinkle of cinnamon on the cooked meal, might be quite nice and I think apple and cinnamon go well together.

Image credits

The Liimburgish flag is copyright free and the photos of the Beef Stew with Apples were all taken by me. 



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