Beef Stew with Prunes


      o 1 log beefy Seitan
      o 1 onion, chopped
      o 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
      o 1/2 t sweet pimenton
      o A pinch of cinnamon
      o 1 t flour
      o 4 t chopped peeled tomatoes
      o 2 t brandy
      o 1 glass (150 ml / 5 fl oz) dry white wine
      o 1 bouquet garni
      o 500 g / 1 lb 2 oz new potatoes
      o 150 g / 5 oz prunes 

Heat the oven to 160C/325F/gas mark 3.

Cut the seitan into cubes about 2 cm / 4.5 inches square. Heat a frying-pan with a little oil and brown the seitan on all sides before transferring to an ovenproof pot. Brown the onions and garlic in the same oil before adding the pimenton, cinnamon and flour. Stir together well before pouring in the tomatoes, the brandy and the wine. Bring this mixture to the boil before adding 250 ml / 9 fl oz of water and the bouquet garni. Bring to the boil again, skim off any fat or scum and pour this sauce over the meat. Cover and cook in the oven for 45 minutes.

Peel the potatoes and cut into cubes the same size as the meat. Steam or pressure-cook them till just about done. Add the potato chunks and the prunes to the stew, replace the cover and return the casserole to the oven. Cook another 20 minutes or so. Serve immediately, or cool and reheat later for even better effect.

A recipe adapted from Rowley Leigh’s adaptation from his beloved ‘A Catalan Cookery Book’ by Irving Davis, which he brought to our attention a few weeks ago. The brave might like to substitute a little grated bitter chocolate for the flour.