Afghan/Indian Fusion Beef Stew

Over the past year or so, I’ve become increasingly gutsy in the kitchen. Not that I’m exactly a risk-taker, pairing weird and inventive flavors together, but I no longer freeze with anxiety and crippling indecision when faced with the daunting task of going off recipe. Sometimes, I even fancy myself quite accomplished, and get into situations where I decide to get a little crazy. Tonight was one of those nights…

As I spliced together a few recipe inspirations (one Afghan lamb stew and the other an Indian lamb and spinach dish), I had visions of impressing Michael with my newfound creativity and inventiveness. I made my initial spice blend, declared it too floral, and readjusted seasonings. Of course, rather than throw away the seasoning blend I deemed inappropriate for the dish, I was too busy patting myself on the back for my budding chefiness and put it right next to the stove. In a ramekin. And then threw it into the pot, much to my immediate horror. This horror was only compounded when Michael yelled from the adjoining room: “It smells like potpourri!”

Needless to say, I felt a little lot defeated. But then, something magical happened…as the stew simmered along and the flavors blended, what was initially overbearing mellowed to a pleasing harmony. The acidity from a squeeze of lemon helped balance things out even more, and it reheats well for lunch.

That said, I’m pretty sure it would be even better without the cinnamon. So, onto the chefiness…

Afghan/Indian Fusion Beef Stew
Serves 4

  • ~ 2 T. bacon fat or fat of choice
  • 1-1.5# beef stew meat, chunked
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • thumb size piece ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 chile peppers, chopped
  • 1 t. turmeric
  • 1 t. allspice
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/8 t. cardamom
  • 1/8 t. nutmeg
  • (ACCIDENTAL 1/4 t. cinnamon)
  • 1 c. chicken broth
  • 5-6 oz. spinach
  • 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • cilantro (optional)
  1. Heat 1 T. of your fat in a skillet on medium-high heat. Sprinkle your beef chunks with salt and pepper. Brown in the skillet and set aside. Add the remaining fat and then your onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened and beginning to brown.
  2. Add chile, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring, for about 1-2 minutes. Add spices and beef chunks and stir to combine. Add chicken broth, spinach, and tomatoes and stir to combine. Bring this mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 60-90 minutes or until beef is tender. (stir occasionally during this time period).
  3. When beef is tender, stir in lemon juice and check for seasoning; add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with (cauliflower) rice and a bit of cilantro. Enjoy!
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