This tender beef stew, with its heady mix of musky spices and hint of heat, is a star dish for dinner parties. Enhance the aroma of the stew with a generous scattering of fresh herbs. It can be eaten with a flatbread like naan, or atop a root vegetable purée. The stew’s flavors will intensify over time, so it will taste even better the next day. Make sure the beef is fork-tender, and if you can’t find black cardamom, substitute with three green cardamom pods.
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1½ pound beef stewing meat, cut into 1½-inch pieces
- ½ medium yellow onion, sliced thin
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped rough
- 2-inch knob of ginger, chopped rough
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon hot smoked paprika
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 6 black pepper berries
- 1 pod black cardamom
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1 green bird’s-eye chile, chopped rough
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 4 plum tomatoes, blanched, skin removed, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chiffonade, for garnish
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish
In 6-quart Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, add oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until browned, about 5–7 minutes, then add garlic and ginger. When golden and fragrant, add turmeric, cumin, paprika, cinnamon stick, black pepper berries, cardamom pod, bay leaf, bird’s-eye chile, salt, tomatoes and 1 cup water. Reduce heat to low. Place lid on pot, and simmer gently for 45 minutes.
Stir stew. If meat sticks to bottom of pot, add water in small amounts until loose. Place lid back on pot, and simmer gently for 45 minutes, or until meat becomes fork-tender.
Increase heat to high to let sauce thicken. Add salt, if desired. Garnish with mint chiffonade and chopped coriander. Enjoy with naan or roasted vegetable purée. Serves 4.
Arnoux & Fils 2015 Chapelle-St-Arnoux Red (Côtes du Rhône); $12, 89 points, Best Buy. Fruit-driven Côtes du Rhône has the flexibility to absorb so many different spice flavors, while also having the tannins and structure to hold up to the rich meat. Bright acidity acts as a palate cleanser for the dish’s thick, savory sauce.