SPICY BEEF STEW
This is a delicious beef stew recipe which I created once by accident, by experimenting with various bits and pieces in my store cupboard. Though it would seem as if it’s a “winter warmer” type stew, I actually find it seems to taste better in the summer, when the weather is pleasantly warm – bordering on hot – and to serve this stew outdoors, eat at a garden table under an umbrella, accompanied by lots of full-bodied red wine.
To serve 2 people, you will need……..
2oz unsalted butter
1 tablespoon corn oil
1 large onion, peeled and very finely sliced
1 large garlic clove, peeled and very finely chopped
1 1/2lbs very lean braising steak, trimmed of all visible fat & gristle – and cut into cubes
1 tablespoon white flour, seasoned with a good pinch of black pepper
2 green chillies, stalked, favorite-seeded and finely sliced
1 flat teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 small drops of Tabasco
1 rounded teaspoon dried thyme
6 fairly large tomatoes
1 dried bay leaf
Place the tomatoes in a large heat-proof bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to stand for 10 minutes. One by one, remove each tomato and pierce the skin with a knife. Catch hold of the skin in between fingertips, and gradually ease away from the tomato until it is totally skinned. Do this with each tomato, then discard the skins. Place the skinned tomatoes on a large plate, and remove the cores – discard the cores – then chop the tomatoes finely. Keep aside until needed.
Place the seasoned flour in a large plastic bag and shake. Put the meat pieces inside the bag, and shake well until they are lightly coated with the flour. With tongs, carefully remove the meat pieces one by one and keep on a plate (separate to the tomatoes) until needed.
Over a medium heat and in a large saucepan, heat the unsalted butter and the corn oil together, stirring occasionally to blend, until the foam subsides. Cook the floured meat pieces in the oil/butter mixture, a few at a time, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep to one side. Repeat until all the meat pieces have been browned in the butter/oil mixture in this way.
Add the garlic, chillies and onion to the remaining oil/butter in the pan and fry over a medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden and translucent. Return the meat pieces to the pan and fry for one minute, stirring well, making sure they blend well with the garlic and onions.
Add the chopped tomatoes, Tabasco, black pepper, thyme and bay leaf and bring to the boil, stirring continuously.
Turn to a very low simmer, cover the pan and cook for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. This dish needs to be simmered very slowly so that the meat becomes extremely tender and the sauce thick. Cooking for less than 3 hours will result in a sauce that is too thin, as during the long cooking time, the outer meat fibers begin to break away and blend into the sauce which gives it that lovely rich thickness.
Upon serving, the sauce should be rich, thick and a reddish brownish color.
Remove the bay leaf, and serve with French bread, garlic bread or ciabatta bread and a large chilled green salad.
This is a very simple and reasonably cheap dish to make, yet tastes as though the skill of a gourmet chef has gone into making it. Enjoy !