Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Braised Beef with Tomatoes

This dish was my celebration of summer fog: after days on end of interminable sunshine and 90 degree weather, we finally got some cooler, fog-filled days and I jumped at the opportunity to embrace my winter lover, braising. But I still had some delicious summer tomatoes sitting on the counter (never, ever refrigerate tomatoes) so I incorporated those as well. This is the perfect fall dish, and its simplicity really highlights the few ingredients involved.

Warning: I thought I could make it in the evening for the same night. When dinner time came, the meat was still tough. This needs a good 3-4 hours of cooking, and it's better the next day, or the next.

You'll need:

1lb beef stew meat
1/2 onion, sliced
1T coriander
1T tumeric
1T tomato paste
1c chicken stock
4 medium ripe tomatoes
1T grapeseed oil

Heat grapeseed oil over medium-high heat. Remove excess fat from beef. Dry very, very well. Salt and pepper. Brown beef in oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pan (do it in batches if you must).

Remove beef and add onions. Saute until onions absorb fond (if fond is burnt, clean it out first). Add coriander and cumin and saute over medium heat until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add tomato paste; stir and cook 1 minute more.

Deglaze with 1/4c chicken stock, scraping fond.

Return beef to pan and add stock until it comes about halfway up meat. Cook at barely a simmer, covered well, until beef is tender, about 3 hours.

Serve over a grain. You can serve as is, or sprinkled with parsley, or-- like I did-- with a dollop of yogurt to cool it off.

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