We had this for dinner on Sunday last. As you'll know if you've been reading along for a while, I got bored with doing the same old roasts on a Sunday and went looking for more interesting recipes to try.
However, I think I'm going to have to ban myself from buying Brisket of beef for a while, as that seems to wind up being the meat of choice for a Sunday - and that's getting just as boring as doing the same old roast chicken! In fact, I found myself hankering for a lovely pot-roast chicken, but that may also have something to do with the fact that my reservoir of chicken stock is running low!
Anyway, the reasons I chose to do this Pepperpot Beef & Orange Stew are as follows. For starters, it's beef and oranges. Now you don't often find those two in the same cooking dish. Secondly, it involved mashed red kidney beans being used as a method of thickening the gravy. An interesting idea and one which I was keen to try out. Lastly, it had Caribbean overtones and I'm very interested in Caribbean cooking, as I really like the combination of meat and fruit which they are very good at.
So that all amounted to an interested "I'll give that a try!".
As a first go, it didn't turn out too badly. I made one or two mistakes which I would remedy the second time around - and which have been incorporated into the recipe below. For example, I used the aforesaid Brisket of beef rather than the braising steak that was originally suggested. Do you blame me? There's a whole heap of difference in the price of the two! However, that meant that the dish would require a minimum of 2 hours cooking and a maximum of 3 hours. Regrettably, it never occurred to me that in that time the red and yellow peppers would have been cooked away to nothing more than an ingredient in the gravy/sauce, which was a shame. It would have been nice to have had them more prominently in the dish. As such, I have suggested adding them a lot later into the cooking process.
I was also a little leery of putting too much chilli in - and as it happened, I would have been absolutely fine to have included the seeds, rather than binning them. I did test the chilli on my tongue (for heat), but couldn't have paid much attention to the result, as a) I don't remember it and b) if I had have done, I'd have included the seeds!
What you wind up with, is a casserole dish full of lovely tender beef in a thick pinky-brown gravy (that's the red kidney beans) that is multi-faceted in flavour and well worth the effort of making it.
PEPPERPOT BEEF & ORANGE STEW ( serves 3-4)
700g brisket of beef, trimmed and cut into small cubes
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 red onion, peeled and chopped
25g fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 small red chilli, de-seeded (if it's a hot one!) and chopped
400ml beef stock
410g can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 small orange, cut into six wedges
1 red pepper, de-seeded and chopped
1 yellow pepper, de-seeded and chopped
2 tbsp roughly chopped coriander leaves.
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180deg C/Gas 4.
2. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a non-stick frying pan and add half the meat, browning all over. Decant into a warmed casserole dish.
3. Repeat the process with the second batch of meat, but when browned, sprinkle with the flour and add the tomato puree. Mix well and cook for a couple of minutes without burning. Decant the lot into the casserole dish.
4. Give the frying pan a wipe out, then add the remainder of the oil and the onion, ginger and chilli. Cook gently until softened and golden brown - around 10 minutes.
5. Take one half of the red kidney beans and mash them with a potato masher, then add them to the casserole dish, along with the whole beans.
6. Add the stock and tip into the casserole dish, add the orange and stir to ensure everything is amalgamated.
7. Cover the casserole dish and place into the oven for 1 hour.
8. In the meantime, add the peppers to the frying pan and fry them lightly until just beginning to soften.
9. At the end of the first hour, remove the casserole dish from the oven and give the contents a good stir. Add the peppers and stir again. Season, cover and replace into the oven for another hour and a half.
10. Remove from the oven and test the beef. If not tender enough, return to the oven for another half an hour. You may need to add a little water at this stage, if the gravy/sauce has reduced too much.
11. Once the beef is tender, remove and serve with rice and green peas with a blob of sour cream on the side.