Monday, January 18, 2016

Fragrant Coconut-Lime Beef Stew

  If you're one of my faithful readers, you know by now how much I love a good beef stew recipe, or any recipe for which I can use my dutch oven. You also know how much I love trying new and different recipes, especially different types of International cuisine. This is another great recipe from my long distance friend and former classmate, Kathleen. I can't remember how we arrived at the topic of Indian Cuisine (for which I get MANY requests, btw), but I was thrilled when she offered this recipe. No, Kathleen isn't of Indian decent, but she told me she thinks she must have been (in a previous life) because she loves the food so much. hehehehe
 Just wait until you taste this! First and foremost, yes, it still tastes like a hearty beef stew, but it has the subtle hints of coconut and lime to add just the tiniest little twist. And the spices make the whole thing warm and mellow. Kathleen gave me this recipe literally YEARS ago and I'm just now finally getting around to posting it. I've made it several times and it's always a huge hit! If you're looking for a new recipe to try, this one is it! It's REALLY wonderful.
Thanx again Kathleen!

3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander seed
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste
3 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch chunks
14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
2-inch strip lime zest
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
2 bay leaves
1 pound baby carrots
1 pound baby red potatoes, halved *
1/2 cup chopped peanuts (optional)

Heat oven to 325 degrees.
In large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add onion and saute until they begin to color, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, turmeric and cayenne pepper. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute longer. Transfer mixture to a large plate.

Return Dutch oven to burner. Increase heat to high and add another 1 1/2 teaspoons of oil to pot. When oil is hot, add a quarter of the beef and cook until well browned on all sides, about 3 minutes. Transfer to plate. Brown remaining beef in 3 more batches, adding oil as needed.

Return onion mixture and browned beef to pot. Stir in coconut milk, lime zest, lime juice, brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, bay leaves, and baby carrots. Bring mixture to a simmer, cover, then place in oven for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours, or until beef is tender. Alternatively, stew can be simmered over low heat on burner. Season with salt. Serve garnished with chopped peanuts (if desired) over a helping of steamed white or brown rice.

*If you'd like to add sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes, they'll become too soft if you cook them in the stew. My answer is to peel and cut them into chunks, then toss with a little oil, salt and pepper, and roast them separately on a baking tray, then add them to the stew as you serve.

You can easily adapt this to a crock pot instead of a dutch oven. Just brown everything in a skillet as the recipe directs, and then transfer to a crock pot. Kathleen said she likes to cook it on high until it simmers and then cook it on low for about 4 more hours, placing the potatoes and carrots in about an hour before it's done. I think I'd probably wind up just throwing everything in and letting it cook on low for 6 or 7 hours.
If you want to take the heat even further, use a modest amount of chopped, fresh Scotch bonnet chili pepper instead of the cayenne.

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