One of the most frustrating things on this fodmap and low fructose diet is finding ways to flavour food. I can cope quite well (just the occasional swearing at my meals) until I try to make things that aren’t basically meat and two veg. Any kind of sauce or marinade or even stew seems to be a minefield for me.
I can’t have onion, garlic, celery, red wine, tomato puree, vegetable stock, mushrooms, coconut milk or chillies which sabotages so many flavourings for food and finally makes a virtue out of my tendency toward to bland and dry food.
But it also make it difficult to make stuff at all, especially in my beloved slow cooker which tends to favour ‘wetter’ dishes like stews, curries and casseroles. The flavourings I can still use don’t take well to long cooking such as fresh herbs, capers, olives and lemon and I’m finding myself somewhat limited for making braised and slow cooked dishes with cheaper cuts of meat.
A rummage in the freezer this week unearthed some stewing steak needing eaten and I decided to rise to the challenge and make something tasty with a minimum of ingredients. Last week’s shenanigans about Marmite reminded me to buy some Bovril for beefy goodness (and unlike most beef stock cubes it’s fodmap friendly!) and I turned to my new best friend miso.
Fermenting food tends to reduce the fodmaps presumably because more healthy bacteria helps the gut digest them more easily. I’ve always loved miso’s savoury kick and have come to rely on it more and more for a deep note of flavour recently. A basic rule of thumb is that the darker the miso, the deeper the flavour and so I’m on the hard stuff with the hacho miso that is the darkest and longest fermented.
And combined they made an excellent flavoursome stew where you won’t miss the onions or anything else. Plus it took about five minutes to prepare in total. I added the dumpling mix about an hour before I wanted to eat and served a heap of spring greens on the side for some attempt at veg. It made an excellent start to the slow cooker season which is now how I mark the start of autumn…
Slow Cooker Beef and Miso Stew (serves 2)
- 500g stewing steak, cubed in 3-4cm pieces
- 2 tablespoons hacho or red miso paste
- 1 tablespoon Bovril
- 150ml boiling water
- 2 anchovy fillets or 1 teaspoon anchovy sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
For the dumplings:
- 50g suet (don’t use the veggie version here. It’s basically extruded margarine)
- 100g self raising flour (or add 1 teaspoon baking powder to plain or spelt flour)
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- salt and pepper
- 100ml cold water
This feels like cheating calling this recipe as it’s basically cutting up meat and cooking it, but if people can post ‘recipes’ about putting avocado on toast, why not?
Cube the beef and season well and add to the slow cooker crock. Put the Bovril and miso paste in a small bowl and add a splash of the boiling water and mix to a thick smooth paste, adding a little more water at a time until both have dissolved.
Pour this mix over the meat and add the anchovies. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. If you can eat them, some dried mushrooms like porcini or shiitake would be excellent here thrown in as well.
After 7 hours, put the flour, suet and seasonings in a small bowl and add enough of the water to make a stiff dough. You might need slightly more or slightly less so add it gradually and mix with your hands. Your dumpling dough shouldn’t stick to your fingers too much.
Using either your hands or a spoon, drop the dumplings into the opened slow cooker on top of the stew. You should get about eight in total. Put the lid back on and allow to cook for an hour. Take the lid off, turn the heat off and allow the stew to sit for ten minutes to allow the dumplings to firm up very slightly and serve.
A very simple and very savoury stew that hit the spot for me perfectly on the first chilly miserable autumnal night that threatens winter is coming. Enjoy!