I have a confession. I'm sat listening to Westlife as I'm writing this. Actually, that shouldn't have to be a confession. Just don't judge me.
I remember when they first appeared in the charts, when I was in secondary school. (Or highschool, now that we seem to have adopted that Americanism). I loved them straight away and have a lot of memories attached to their songs.
Sorry, got sidetracked by nostalgia for a moment then.
Beef cobbler is one of my Dad's favourite meals. (Or "that stew with dumplings", as he calls it).
It's not hard to imagine why it's called "cobbler" as it resembles cobbled streets a la Coronation Street. Not that I watch any soaps... No, really, I don't watch any of them.
My cobbles seem to have sunken a little.
I find that I make this dish with whatever root vegetables I've got hand. But, it does tend to be many carrots and parsnips if I've planned it.
Also, any tough cut of beef or lamb would be fine. Personally, I absolutely adore ox cheeks, but please don't all go out and buy them or the price will rise.
(Who am I kidding? As if enough people read this to make that happen).
You can really make this recipe your own. Mix up the root veg, add potatoes, use ale or red wine in the filling. Or use different herbs in the "cobbles", or even cheese.
For the filling
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1tsp dried rosemary
1tsp dried thyme
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 parsnips, finely chopped
400g stewing beef, roughly diced
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp tomato purée
For the cobbles
400g self raising flour
200g shredded suet
1 tsp dried herbs, such as thyme, rosemary (optional)
Preheat oven Gas 3 (170°C/325°)
In an oven proof pan, gently fry the onions, garlic, and herbs in the oil until the onions are softened. Add the carrots, parsnips, beef, and flour, and give it all a good stir to coat everything in the flour. Next, add the tomato puree and enough beef stock to just cover everything. Bring to a simmer, lid on, and cook in the oven for at least 4 hours or until the meat is really tender.
Meanwhile, make the cobbles by mixing the self raising flour with the suet and herbs (if using). Gradually, a couple of tablespoons at a time, add the water until it forms a dough (it might be a bit sticky, but that's ok). Portion the dough into eight equal balls and flatten them slightly.
When the filling is nearly ready, carefully place the cobbles on top and cook for 20-30 minutes.