Any weather can be stew weather – you laugh! – but I find that the comfort of a bowl of sweet and spicy beef stew is seasonless.
I adapted this recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Everyday Dorie, which has become a very much go-to cookbook of mine. I loved Dorie’s process of marinating the beef overnight with gochujang, garlic, and red wine and I also added some shwarma spices to the meat rub. I also added fresh orange juice and orange peels to the bay leaf, cinnamon, and other aromatics while cooking. The result was just as it says: sweet and spicy! What a treat.
Of course, make sure to dry and sear off all of the meat well before cooking the stew. Dorie recommends straining the marinade and saving it for the cooking liquid and so do I!
I added the vegetables – outside of the classic mirepoix – gradually so that they would not overcook (or get “tired” as Dorie says) and could be served alongside the meat.
- For the beef and marinade:
- 1 bottle (750 mL) red wine, preferably fruity but dry
- ¼ cup (60 mL) soy sauce
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) gochujang (Korean red chili paste), or more or less to taste
- 2 teaspoons shwarma spice (rubbed into meat)
- 5 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 3-4 Cilantro stems
- 4 lbs beef stew meat
- For the stew:
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) canola or other neutral oil
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 large onions, diced
- 6 rainbow carrots, trimmed, peeled and diced
- 4 stalks of celery, diced
- 5-6 medium sized potatoes, cut into 4 pieces each
- 3 garlic cloves, germ removed and sliced into slivers
- One 1-inch (2.5-cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into slivers
- 2-3 pieces orange peel
- juice of one orange
- ⅓ cup (75 mL) water
- 2 cups (480 mL) beef broth
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) honey
- Pinch of black peppercorns
- a teaspoon of cinnamon
- 3 bay leaves
- *remember to marinate the beef overnight!*
- You can marinate the beef in a Dutch oven or in a big Ziploc bag. Mix the wine, soy sauce and gochujang together until blended, then add the remaining marinade ingredients and stir. Rub the shwarma spice into the pieces of meat. Add the meat, make sure all of it is covered by the marinate, cover/seal and refrigerate overnight. When you’re ready to cook, transfer the beef to a plate lined with a triple thickness of paper towels. Cover it with three more towels and pat dry. Strain the marinade into a bowl and reserve the marinade for the stew.
- Warm 2 tablespoons of the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the beef in batches — do not overcrowd it — and cook, turning to brown all sides for about 8 minutes. Let each side of the beef get dark before turning it and browning another side. As the pieces brown, transfer them to a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
- Pour off any fat from the pot and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. When it’s hot, add the onion half of the carrots, and the celery and season with salt and pepper. Cook over high heat, turning as needed to color the vegetables. Lower the heat and toss in the garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring frequently and taking care not to blacken the garlic and ginger, until the mixture is fragrant.
- Add in the beef and mix to combine. Turn the heat back up to high, pour in the water and cook, scraping the bottom, until you’ve picked up all the browned bits and most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the broth and the reserved marinade. Add in orange juice and zest, as well as the honey, peppercorns, cinnamon, and bay leaf, bringing the stew back up to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for 2.5-3 hours, until the beef is fork-tender. About 1.5-2 hours into cooking, add in the remaining carrots and the potatoes so that they are not overcooked.
- Taste for salt and pepper and season accordingly (I find that this needs plenty of pepper!)
To pre-empt some questions: I used a Cotes du Rhone red wine here, but you can use whatever red you prefer or have on hand. I never cook with anything I wouldn’t drink, but that is just a personal preference!
It should go without saying, but this is best served hot! If you cool the stew or refrigerate any leftovers, make sure the skim off any fat before reheating on the stove.
Karen (Back Road Journal) says
I’ve never had a spicy stew before and this sounds great.
Thank you, Karen! It’s a subtle spice, very warming.