Thursday, December 13, 2007

Beef and Eggplant Stew

This is an intensely flavored stew very loosely based on an Epicurious recipe. It's very easy to make and you can use whatever veggies you have on hand.

To feed two hungry people, you'll need:

1lb beef stew meat
1 large globe (regular kind) eggplant, peeled and cubed to about the same size as the meat
1 large onion, thinly sliced
5-spice powder (or cumin, if you don't like 5-spice)
cayenne or chili powder
2T oil for browning
4 cloves sliced garlic
4 inches of lemongrass, cut in half lengthwise and pounded to release yummy juices
1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1c red wine (merlot or cab or whatever dry-ish wine you have on hand. cheap is fine)
1/4c hoisin sauce
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes with juices
2 bay leaves

Wash, dry, and trim the meat. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, 5-spice powder and cayenne. Dredge in flour and brown in very hot grapeseed oil on all sides in a deep heavy skillet.

When meat is dark brown, push it to the edges of the pan and add the onion. Turn heat to medium-high and saute onion about 15 minutes, until golden brown and wilted.

Add eggplant and garlic, mix to combine, and saute until eggplant begins to color, being careful not to burn garlic.

Add 1c wine and bring to a boil, scraping to release the fond (the stuff stuck at the bottom of the pan).

When wine reduces by half, add tomatoes, hoisin sauce, ginger, and lemongrass. Reduce heat to a simmer; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until beef is fork-tender and sauce is thick, about 1.5 hours.

Remove lemongrass and bay leaves. Serve over brown rice.

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