This recipe comes from the author Anya Lipska. I’ve just finished reading her first novel, ‘Where the Devil Can’t Go”, a crime drama set in London and Poland and was so gripping that I read it in almost one sitting. It follows a number of people in the Polish community in London who eat at Polish cafes, shop at Polish corner shops and create Polish dishes in their homes – while discussing murders, tracking missing people and interrogating beautiful women who moonlight as strippers, of course. This recipe is recreated by the hero in the book one night in his flat.
Here’s what Anya says:
“This tasty beef stew is finished with maslanka, buttermilk, which, like the powidla you can get from most Polish shops, although I have also given alternatives below. In its original incarnation, it probably doesn’t have the chillis, but my mother in law, who gave me the recipe, likes to spice up Polish dishes.”
- 450g braising steak
- 1 pack of chestnut mushrooms, thickly sliced
- 2 large red chillis, chopped and deseeded
- 2 inches of ginger, grated
- 2 onions, chopped and sweated
- 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped with a little salt
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 small red pepper cut into medium strips
- 1 tsp powidla (a semi-sweet plum jam sold in Polish shops, pronounced poh-veed-wa, or a couple of squidgy prunes, mashed
- 150ml maslanka, or natural yoghurt thinned to pouring consistency
Brown the meat in batches (dry first on paper towels).
Add the chestnut mushrooms, already browned.
Mix in all the ingredients apart from the pepper, powidla and maslanka. Just cover with water and simmer for an hour.
Add the red pepper and simmer for a further 20 minutes, adding water if it has got too dry.
In the last ten minutes, add the powidla or prunes.
At the end, add pepper and salt to taste. Mix the maslanka or yoghurt mix with a little sauce before adding to the stew.
After cooking, give the stew 10 minutes to relax.
Smacznego! (bon appetit!)