SPICY BEEF STEW
Tana's Kitchen Secrets
by Tana Ramsay
This is a quick, one-pot dish that you can leave slow-cooking in the oven. The long cooking time allows the spices to develop a wonderfully rounded flavor. This is a great dish from the pantry needing very few fresh ingredients. Serve with lots of fluffy white rice.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Can be made in advance
Suitable for freezing
• 1 lb 2oz chuck roast, cut into 1 inch dice
• sea salt
• 2 tsp garam masala
• 1 tsp chili powder
• 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
• 4 tbsp vegetable oil
• 4 carrots, cut into 1 in dice
• 2 tbsp tomato puree
• 4 star anise
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 1 dried chile, finely chopped
• 2 x 14.5oz cans chopped tomatoes
• 2 bay leaves
• black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the steak into a large mixing bowl with a good pinch of salt, the garam masala, chili powder, and flour. Mix so all the beef is coated.
2. Pour 3 tbsp of the oil into a large flameproof casserole over medium-high heat. When the oil is simmering, add the beef and cook, turning, until all sides have a good color [see secret, below). Place a colander over a bowl and pour in the beef to allow excess fat to drain off.
3. Add the remaining oil to the casserole, add the carrots and allow them to color slightly, stirring so they do not stick or burn. Return the meat to the casserole and add the tomato puree. Stir for 2-3 minutes so the puree is cooked through. Toss in the star anise, cinnamon, dried chile, tomatoes, bay leaves, and 1 cup boiling water. Season well with salt and pepper and cover.
4. Transfer the casserole to the oven and cook for 1 hour 30 minutes. Check it every now and then— if the stew seems to be thickening too much, add a little more boiling water. At the end of cooking, turn off the oven, open the door slightly and let the dish cool for 10-20 minutes. The beef should be lovely and tender with a good kick of spice.
Browning meat for stewing:
The trick to an excellent casseroled dish is to brown the meat very well before stewing slowly. You will usually have to do so in batches as, if a pan is overcrowded, the meat will steam and never take on a good caramelized color. Fry your chosen meat, turning occasionally, until all sides are dark gold, to bring out a wonderfully savory, roasted taste along with an inherent sweetness.