Spicy Beef Stew

This recipe is my own concoction that can best be described as cross between beef bourguignon, Hungarian goulash and old fashioned Indian curry. I am quite aware of the fact that people may find this an odd combination but if you really think about it, all three recipes have a lot in common – good old boneless meat/beef, onions, potatoes, tomato paste, vegetables, the slow cooking process and some flavoring spices.  I took a few elements from each of these recipes and combined them to make a hearty dish that is spicy, savory, sweet, tart and it has varied textures from all the veggies.  I especially love the taste that fennel seeds add to this dish. With fall approaching, the chill has just started to set in on the East Coast and a large bowl of filling and piping hot stew with a slice of crusty warm bread on the side is just about as perfect as it gets!


1.    1 to 1.25 lbs beef stew meat
2.    2 medium sized white onions.
3.    3-4 large carrots or about 15-20 small peeled carrots (available in packets)
4.    1/3 lbs green beans (I used haricot verts – the small French green beans)
5.    4 small potatoes
6.    2 celery stalks
7.    ½ cup of good quality red wine
8.    2 cups of chicken or beef broth
9.    1 tablespoon tomato paste
10.    1 tablespoon honey
11.    Salt and pepper to taste
12.    1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
13.    2 teaspoons of sweet paprika
14.    1.5 tablespoons of fennel seeds
15.    1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
16.    2 tablespoons of good quality extra virgin olive oil
17.    Some chopped chives for garnish


1.    Peel and chop the onions in large chunks.

2.    Chop the potatoes in small cubes (about 8 cubes from each small potato).

3.    Chop the celery sticks and the carrots.

4.    Chop the green beans.
5.    In a heavy bottomed pan, pour the olive oil and place it over medium heat.

6.    When the oil is hot, pour in the meat and the cumin seeds and braise the meat on all sides – keep stirring constantly.
7.    After 2-3 minutes of cooking the meat, add the chopped onions to the pot and stir.

8.    Then add the chopped celery sticks and stir. Cook these for another 2-3 minutes.
9.    Add the chopped potatoes and the carrots to the pot and stir.

10.    Then add the sweet paprika to the pot and stir.

11.    De-glaze the bottom of the pot with ½ cup of the red wine and stir again.  With a wooden spatula, scrape the bottom of the pan thoroughly.

12.    Add the chicken/beef stock to the pan and stir.

13.    Add the tomato paste and honey to the pot and stir everything thoroughly.
14.    Add salt, pepper and red pepper to the pot and cover with a lid. Let the stew cook for 5-6 minutes on medium heat.

15.    At this point, I transferred the stew to a crock pot, added the beans and the fennel seeds and set it on “high” for 2 hours. If you do not have a crock pot, you can continue to cook the stew over low heat for another hour and a half. The liquid content in the pot should be such that it just about covers the meat and vegetables. If the liquid level seems a little low, you can add a little bit of water to the pot and let it cook on low heat.

16.    When the meat and the vegetables are fork tender, you can remove the lid and cook the stew for another 5-7 minutes to let any of the excess liquid evaporate.
17.    Serve the stew piping hot and with garnish of chopped chives on top,


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  1. Permalink Submitted by Rupali on Thu, 11/10/2012 - 00:33

    That was a good drop there, Shabnam. Hope you had some while you cooked 🙂

    • Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Thu, 11/10/2012 - 00:59

      🙂 YUP I did have it – sat and ate a whole bowl by myself! This is Simran’s favorite, so I froze a box for her and saved the rest for Shakeb, who is arriving tonight in about an hour’s time!!!

  2. Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Thu, 11/10/2012 - 01:01

    OHHHH Rupali – I guess you meant the wine!!! Yupppp!!! I had that too 🙂

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