I can’t believe it’s been almost three months since I updated this blog. However, it doesn’t mean that we haven’t been cooking. Everyone has to eat, right? March has been an unpredictable month, it felt like summer came for an unexpected visit and now she has gone back to get the rest of her camper so spring can settle in proper. It’s chilly now and the days are good for a snuggle again. This beef stew really hit the spot for us as it’s the perfect accompaniment to snuggling just don’t spill. Served with some luscious garlic mash potatoes, it’s comfort food in a bowl.
Yesterday before dinner, I found a disc of unused Choc Sol’s Aztec Drinking Chocolate and thought it would be a great to use as part of seasoning for the stew. I took a nibble off the disc and it had a nice spiciness to it on top of the bittersweet Mayan cacao. And a certain red wine in my pantry would be the perfect pairing to this chocolate and thus this beef stew was born.
I also have a dirty secret about this beef stew ~ and I will only tell you about it at the very end.
1 lb of stewing beef, cubed 1.5 inch x 1.5 inch (I prefer buying a chunk of meat and cutting it myself because I find the pre-cut stuff at stores doesn’t always cube them the way I want it)
1/2 cup of celery, diced
1/2 cup of onions, diced
1/2 cup of carrots, diced
5 cloves of whole garlic, peeled
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 glass of red wine
1 cup of water
2 heaping tablespoons of grated Choc Sol’s Aztec Drinking Chocolate
a pinch of chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
a handful of chopped mustard greens
1 whole red/orange bell pepper, cut into large chunks
1. Heat a heavy bottom pot with olive oil and butter. Once the butter has melted add the beef cubes in to brown. Make sure you don’t over crowd the pot too much or the beef pieces will just simmer in its own juices. Season with big pinches of salt and pepper. Once the beef is browned, set aside.
2. In the same pot, add in the garlic cloves, carrots, celery and onion. Season with salt and pepper and saute the vegetables until they’ve become translucent and soft.
3. Throw the beef back in with the vegetables, add the chocolate, cumin, red wine and water. Stir and let it simmer for 1 hour, 30 minutes.
Awesome served with garlic mash potatoes. Other alternatives you can serve this with is rice, polenta, or bread.
The secret: It’s not meat. The beef cubes I used was Gardein Beefless Tips. I’ve been using this product as a meat substitute for a while now and it’s by far the best one in the market in terms of texture, flavour and versatility. Had I not told you, you thought that was real beef in that stew, isn’t it? Have I made this before with real meat? Yes, and it’s wonderful.