Beef stew is one of the best dishes to have on a cold winter day. It’s hearty, filling and warming from the inside.
In the stew I have here, I’ve used light beer as the cooking liquid, which gave the stew a unique, deep flavor. Inspired by the Hungarian Goulash soup, I’ve used a generous amount of aromatic and warming sweet and hot paprika, that added a wonderful color and flavor. To this I’ve added some caraway seeds and juniper berries, for an added interesting, earthy-resinous flavor.
To make the stew even heartier, potatoes were added in the last half hour of stewing, to keep them from overcooking and to add another layer of texture. Served with fresh, crusty bread, a bowl of this stew is a tasty whole meal in itself. Try it and enjoy.
* For best results, I recommend using Hungarian paprika in this stew. The amount may seem large, but it adds wonderful color and body to the sauce. Don’t be tempted to use less.
* Caraway seeds are mostly known in the States as a flavoring for Rye bread. However, their warm and earthy flavor complements any meat stew. If you’re partial to their flavor, use a lesser amount in the first time you make the stew, and then adjust according to your taste.
* Though they resemble blueberries in their shape and color, juniper berries are actually not real berries, but a type of seed cone of the juniper bush. They are mainly known for flavoring Gin, but they are also used to flavor meat stews. They can be quite bitter, so make sure not to add more than a few to the pot.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking/braising time: 2 hours
2 Tbs oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1.3 lbs (600 grams) beef chuck, cut into large cubes
2 Tbs flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbs sweet paprika
1 tsp hot paprika
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbs caraway seeds
4-5 juniper berries, crushed lightly
1 bottle (12oz/356ml) Pilsner beer
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
2 large potatoes, peeled, large diced
1. Heat the oil in a large flat pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, mix and fry for 2-3 minutes, until the onion softens and starts to brown. Coat the beef with the flour and add to the pot. Add the salt and sugar and let fry for 3-4 minutes, turning the beef cubes once.
2. Add the sweet and hot paprika, black pepper, caraway seeds and juniper berries. Add the beer and vinegar and tilt the pot gently. Bring to the boil. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
3. Lower the heat to simmer, and simmer for 1 hour, tilting the pot occasionally.
4. Add the potatoes, cover again and braise for 30 minutes, until the potatoes are soft, but still keep their shape. Uncover the pot, turn the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes longer. Serve hot.