I found the bare bones of this recipe in an old cook book. I can’t remember if it was a Jewish cook book, or if the recipe was just described as being Jewish. Unlike most beef stews of the era (Edwardian) this one looked like it had some flavour. I added the cumin and paprika, and I don’t regret it. This was a delicious stew and we enjoyed it very much with some Spaetzle and green beans. As with most beef stews, it’s good to make it the day before if you can, and heat it up when you want it, as this makes the meat more tender.
I was sufficiently impressed by this spice blend that I’m mixing it up and keeping it in the cupboard to use for beef (or lamb) quite often.
6 to 8 servings2 hours 20 minutes – 20 minutes prep time
Mix the Spices:1 teaspoon cumin seed2 teaspoons caraway seed1/2 teaspoon allspice berries1 teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon ground clovesfreshly ground black pepper to taste1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprikaGrind the cumin, caraway, and allspice with the salt. Mix with the remaining spices and set aside.
Cook the Beef:6 to 8 shallots3 or 4 cloves of garlic900 grams (2 pounds) stewing beef3 tablespoons mild vegetable oil2 cups beef broth or water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegarPeel and sliver the shallots. Peel and mince the garlic. Pat the beef pieces dry. Make sure they are not too big and trim off any gristle. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the pieces of beef on two sides then transfer them to a heavy-bottomed soup pot, with the broth or water in it. Don’t crowd the beef as it browns; you will likely need to do it in 2 or 3 batches. Add more oil to the pan as needed. Begin to stew the browned pieces of beef over medium-low heat.
Once the beef is all browned and transferred to the stew pot, reduce the heat to medium under the skillet. Cook the onions for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring regularly, with a little more oil added to the pan if needed. They should brown only slightly. Add the spices and garlic, and mix in well for a minute or 2, until completely moistened by the oil. Add these to the stew pot. Deglaze the skillet with the vinegar, and add it to the stew pot.
Stew the beef for 1 to 2 hours, until tender. Serve with rice, noodles, gnocchi, spaetzle, or mashed potatoes, etc. Can be made in advance and re-heated.
Last year at this time I made Garlic Braised Mushrooms.