|Beef Stew with Apple Cider|
Are you ready for winter to be over? A part of me says yes, but, at the same time, I love the heavier, heartier meals we get to enjoy during the winter time. Being cold outside, the warm, hearty meals are especially comforting. We might as well enjoy them while we can.
Now, speaking of hearty meals, last week I looked in my pantry and noticed that I had a whole container of apple cider leftover from the holidays and wanted to use it up. I also wanted to make a stew. Stew, hmmm and apple cider, I thought, is that a good combination? Sounds promising, but I didn't trust myself to draw up a recipe from my intuition, so the hunt for a recipe began. Surprisingly, I quickly found an interesting stew recipe in the January issue of InStyle magazine. It used a lot of apple cider and wasn't just the plain old potato, carrot, celery, chuck meat stew variety. Shockingly at first to me, it also had ingredients like pineapple, sambal chili and (gasp!) fish sauce. Under normal circumstances, the pineapple in a stew alone would have turned me completely off, but in this case, i knew it would work well with the apple cider to balance out the flavor. The acid from the pineapple would also tenderize the meat, yielding the most moist, juicy and flavorful stew meat. So, that was ok, but what about non-stew ingredients like fish sauce and sambal chilli? I studied the measurements and they were in moderate amounts, probably added to balance out flavors and not be overpowering or distracting. Finally, given the fact that I had most of the ingredients already in my pantry, I decided to jump into it and make the recipe. And I was very happy that I did, because this is the most flavorful, luxurious stew I have ever made. Very interesting and complex flavors, too.
I have adjusted this recipe and given options whenever possible so that you can try it at home. I promise that you will enjoy this, you won't waste your money, or your meat. :)
Thanks for reading!
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3 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
3 lb beef, cubed (I used a roast cut)
2 medium onions, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 of a pineapple, peeled, cored and finely diced **
1/2 cup red wine
1 quart chicken broth
2 cups apple cider
1 16 oz can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup fish sauce
3/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 tbsp sambal paste
Freshly ground black pepper and salt
1. Heat 1 tbsp oil over high heat in skillet. Add half of the beef and season with 1/4 tsp pepper. Let the meat brown in the pan and then set aside in a medium sized bowl. Repeat with the remaining beef.
2. Set the second batch of beef aside in the same bowl.
3. In the same skillet, add another 1 tbsp vegetable oil and over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic until it is translucent. (About 3 minutes).
4. In a large pot or a stock pot, add the sauteed onion and garlic.
5. Next, add pineapple, apple, pear and wine to the pot and reduce the liquid by half (about 5-7 minutes).
6. Once the liquid has been reduced by half, add cooked beef along with chicken broth, apple cider, tomatoes, fish sauce, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, mustard, and sambal.
7. Bring the whole pot to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.
8. Cover and simmer until beef cubes fall apart easily when poked with a fork. (About 2 more hours).
9. Serve with a side of cornbread.
**Side note: If you do not like the pineapple chunks in your stew, you can juice the pineapple in a juicer and add the juice and 1/2 of the pulp to the stew. This side note is for those who know they do not like to bite into chunks of pineapple in the same way they do not like pineapple on their pizza. In this stew, the pineapple is an essential ingredient in order to tenderize the meat, but this tip will solve the problem.
Recipe adapted from January 2012 InStyle Magazine, who featured and borrowed the original recipe from Chicago based star chef, Stephanie Izard.
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