Slow braised beef with chocolate and mustard

Photographer: Kate McKinlay
Serves 4-6

The earthy notes of good quality dark chocolate makes a surprisingly delicious addition to this otherwise fairly traditional beef stew.  Chocolate is usually associated with wonderful cakes, decadent desserts, and sweet tooth satisfaction sessions however, once roasted the cocoa bean itself is packed with earthy, toasty and smokey notes which are a match made in heaven for a dark and savory meat dish.  The key is the a little goes a long way.  I’d follow the mantra that you can always add more….but you can’t….well you know!


50mL (1.7fl oz) oil, for searing
1kg stewing beef, cut into large chunks
40g (1.4oz) tomato paste
750 ml Water, or stock
2 tbsp plain flour
2 fresh bay leaves
150g (5.3oz) button mushrooms, halved.
1/2 – 1 tsp flaky salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
12 baby onions, peeled and trimmed
12 baby carrots, peeled and trimmed
1 tbsb fresh thyme
3 tbsp Whole grain mustard
80g (2.8 oz) dark chocolate, chopped (We used 80% cocoa)
40g (1.4oz) butter
A handful of fresh, flat leaf parsley


1. Cut beef into 3-4 cm (1 1/2 inch) chunks.
2. Heat oil over med-high heat in a large casserole dish (enameled cast iron is ideal) and brown the steak well on all sides, remove from dish and set aside.
hen add the tomato paste and sear until dark.
3. Add a small amount of water, and scrape all the brownings off the bottom using a wooden spoon..
4. Add water or stock, then add meat back to the dish and simmer gently for 2-3 hours until the beef is tender.
4. Pour off broth into one container and then remove meat to another container.
5. Allow the broth to cool, then skim off any fat and return to the pot. Heat fat and add flour, stir with a wooden spoon and cook until dark brown, then add the broth back into the pot. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
7. Add bay leaf, mushrooms, salt and pepper and return to a gentle simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes, then remove from the heat.
8. Roast carrots and baby onions at 200°C (400°F) for 20 minutes or until golden and just tender.
9. Add thyme, mustard, chocolate and butter to the stew and gently stir through until chocolate has dissolved.
10. Add the carrots and onions.
11. Garnish with chopped flat leaf parsley to serve.