What is more comforting then beef stew? Well… ok maybe a few things but nothing can beat the richness of a good beef stew. Which is why I like to switch it up and do something different from time to time and bring a different flavour profile. In this case, we are taking a little trip to Morocco, where Ras El Hanout brings something new to the table. Ras El Hanout is a blend of spice that can differ depending on the region but you will generally find cardamom, cumin, clove, cinnamon, allspice, dry ginger, paprika, fenugreek and others as well. It usually pairs well with olives and that is why I opted for the artichokes. It complimented perfectly the spices and by using the oil packed ones, it held up beautifully in the stew.
I’m kind of lazy when it comes to stews. Usually you would need to brown the meat first, set it aside, brown your vegetables, de-glaze and so on. I took a short cut with this one, which I’m sure you won’t mind at all. This is a one pot meal, which also means less cleaning.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. On high heat and in a big pot made for the oven with a tight fitting lid, heat the olive oil and butter and when it starts to bubbles, add the meat so that it covers the bottom and let cook about 3 to 4 minutes without stirring. Once you see a golden edge somewhere, then you can stir and again, let it go 2 or 3 minutes. You may then add the spices and onions and stir until it becomes fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the red wine and let reduce by half.
While the wine is reducing, dilute the cornstarch in the cold water until there is no more lumps. Add the water and beef stock cube to the pot and stir until it becomes thick. Add the potatoes and artichokes, cover and place in the oven to forget for at least 2 hours.
Serve with a nice mushroom salad (mushrooms, green onions, red wine vinegar and a little olive oil) with lots of vinegar to off-set the richness of the stew and you’ve got yourself one meal that just might break traditions…
- 1/2 kilo of beef cubes
- A dozen fingerling potatoes cut in half
- 2 cups of marinated in oil artichoke hearts
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 cup of red wine
- 1 cup of water
- 1 beef cube stock or equivalent
- 2 tbsp of cornstarch
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 tbsp of butter
- 1 tsp of ras el ranout
- 1 tsp of fennel seeds
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1/2 tsp of pepper
*you could also substitute the 1 cup of water and bouillon cube with 1 cup of beef broth, simply put cornstarch in cold beef stock before adding to stew