Chocolate Beef Stew is a surprising but delicious dish, because the richness of beef pairs so well with the bittersweet flavours of chocolate.
What cut of meat is best for the Chocolate Beef Stew?
Cooking nose-to-tail is nothing new in many cultures. However, in Australia we’ve only recently seen the rise in popularity of non-prime cuts.
You can use any non-prime cut of beef in the stew: chuck steak, beef spare ribs or shoulder cuts. Dice them into bite-sized pieces before cooking. My preference is for beef cheeks and that’s what I use in this recipe. They are delicious and go wonderfully well in stews and slow-cooked dishes.
The chocolate and beef pairing
Pairing chocolate and beef is nothing new. The French use it in their cooking and it produces delicious results. In fact, according to The Flavour Thesaurus, chocolate pairs well with other meats, too. This includes bacon (imagine candied bacon dipped in chocolate) and black pudding.
To layer the flavours in the stew, I suggest using both some dark chocolate and a little bit of cacao powder.
RELATED: Classic Beef Bourignon
Other ingredients you can add
Sweet potato, which I love for its prebiotic benefits, adds a touch of creamy sweetness to the dish.
You can add or use carrots instead. Mushrooms, onion, potatoes and peas would also work really well. Similarly, 1/4 cup pitted and finely chopped prunes would also go well here – meat and prunes are a great match.
If you like to use wine in cooking, try adding 1/4 cup of port or 1/2 cup of red wine to increase the richness of the sauce and layer some extra flavour into the stew.
Chocolate Beef Stew with Sweet Potatoes
- Slow Cooker or Oven
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large fennel bulb and fronds diced
- 2 beef cheeks diced
- 1 l beef bone broth
- 2 tablespoons cocoa
- 20 g dark 70% cocoa chocolate
- 1 large sweet potato peeled and diced
- 2 tablespoons cacao nibs
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
- Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat for a minute. Add fennel and cook, stirring for 5 minutes or until the fennel is lightly caramelised. Transfer the fennel to the slow cooker.
- Return the saucepan to the heat and cook diced beef, in batches, to brown on all sides. Transfer each batch to the slow cooker.
- Add bone broth to the saucepan to deglaze the pan and transfer the broth to the slow cooker as well. Sprinkle with then stir in the cacao and chocolate.
- Top the dish with diced sweet potato, cover with the lid and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
- To serve, divide the casserole between 4 serving plates, sprinkle with cacao nibs for extra flavour and crunch, and some chopped parsley.