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Beef - Braised with Red Peppers & Berbere Spices
An excellent, and easy to make dish - which might introduce the flavour of Berber cooking to many.
Once the initial sealing and preperation is complete, the dish cooks itself, and is an ideal candidate for a Slow Cooker, if you have one - in which case it will need the thickening of a little cornflour. Serve with rice (perhaps mixed with a some fried onions, mashed potatoes or, for a special occasion our 'Couscous with Mediterranean Vegetables'
For 4 helpings:
1 kilo/2 lbs Stewing Beef (try to find shin if you can, if not chuck or a cut labelled stewing beef) - cut into large cubes (excess fat should be removed but any grizzle will melt away)
4 tablespoons (60ml) Olive or Vegetable Oil
2 medium Onions (about 250g/8 oz) - peeled and chopped
3 medium or 2 big cloves of Garlic, peeled & finely-chopped
2 Red Peppers (Capsicums) - cut in half to de-core & seed, then cut into 2.5cm/1 in pieces
1 x 400g tin Chopped Tinned Tomatoes
1 x 400g tin-full of Red Wine
1 x 400g tin-full of Beef Stock (made with ½ a stock cube
4 teaspoons Berbere Spice (from good supermarkets or www.gourmetherbs.co.uk (http://www.gourmetherbs.co.uk/)
1 tablespoon Tomato Purée
2 teaspoons (10ml) Cornflour - optional, depending on how thick you'd like your sauce, but will be needed if using a Slow Cooker.
Salt to taste - may not be needed, as there's salt in the stock cube.
Parsley or Coriander - to serve (optional)
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wide frying pan, and when it is hot, seal the beef pieces on all sides (in batches if needbe) - then transfer it to an ovenroof casserole or Slow Cooker.
2. Lower the heat, add another 2 tablespoons of oil, then sweat the onions for about 5 minutes, until they become translucent but not brown. Add the chopped garlic and Berbere spices - and sweat turning the mixture for a further 2 minutes. Add this to your beef mixture.
3. Add your last tablespoon of oil and soften the chopped red peppers of a low heat for about 5 to 6 minutes - set these aside until later.
4. Add the tomatoes, wine, stock and purée to the beef mixture and mix well together.
5. Cook covered, for 1½ hours at Gas 3/160°C/325°F in a pre-heated oven or for 4-6-8 hours in a Slow Cooker (depending on whether it's set to high/medium or low).
Add the reserved red peppers at this stage and cook for a further ½ hour in the oven or 1 hour in a slow cooker on high heat. At this stage you can also thicken the sauce a little it you wish,by dissolving the cornflour in a little cook water then mixing in.
Serve, perhaps with a scattering of freshly-chopped parsley or coriander.