Chinese Five Spice blend is traditionally used in the Chinese cuisine, as well as in many other Asian recipes. It is a great ingredient in red meat and poultry dishes, and is well known for its rich flavour. When I received a fat little pouch of Chinese Five Spice from Seasoned Pioneers, I cooked a Chinese-inspired stir fry with chicken and oyster mushrooms, and it was very nice. But I also wanted to try it in a European-style stew, maybe even with dumplings, as the cold weather often makes me crave comfort foods like soups and stews.
Wild game stew with dumplings
2tbsp olive oil
500g wild game mix
1 big carrot, peeled and chopped
1 big onion, finely chopped
2tsp Chinese 5 spice
1 Knorr beef stock pot
1 orange, zest and juice
500ml red wine (I used pinot noir)
350g butternut squash, cubed
1 tin (400g) peeled plum tomatoes
10 dried apricots
100g self-raising flour
50g cold butter, grated
50g cheddar, grated (I used Applewood cheddar)
1tsp dried mixed herbs
Pan fry the pieces of wild game mix (mine came from Abel & Cole) in the olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add the chopped onion and carrot, sprinkle with the Chinese 5 spice, fry for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once browned nicely on all sides, remove the meat from the frying pan and place in a deep pan. Add a beef stock pot (or stock cube), zest and juice of 1 orange, and red wine. Pour hot water, enough to cover the meat and vegetables. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat. Cook on low for 20 minutes. Add cubed butternut squash, 1 tin of plum tomatoes, dates and apricots. Season with sea salt. Cook for about half a hour, until the squash is soft.
To make dumplings, mix together self-raising flour with grated cod butter and cheddar cheese, as well as a bit of dried mixed herbs. Place a bowl of cold water nearby to dip your hands in, to make it easier to roll the dumplings from the dough. I made 11 dumplings. Put them half-way deep in the stew, cover the pan with the lid and cook for the last 20 minutes of cooking.
Serve hot with a nice chunk of bread to dip the sauce.
Chinese Five Spice blend might be not an obvious choice for a stew, but it worked really well in this recipe, having added the depth of flavour and richness.
Chinese Five Spice from Seasoned Pioneers is an excellent blend, with a beautiful aroma. It is traditionally dry-roasted and blended by hand to a genuine Chinese recipe. It includes such ingredients as star anise, Sichuan pepper, fennel, cassia and cloves.
If you enjoy world cuisine, you might want to check out Seasoned Pioneers with its inspiring range of spices from all over the world.
Cheryl from Madhouse Family Reviews has tested two different varieties of spices from Seasoned Pioneers - Herbes de Provence and South African Curry Powder, have a look at her mouth-watering globe-cooking recipes.
Disclosure: I received a couple of pouches of spices for the purposes of testing and reviewing. All opinions are mine.