Spicy Beef Stew

It's been too long since my last post - first work was crazy and then I was sick. Hopefully I'm back in business now, assuming we don't lose power forever after Hurricane Sandy. This is a great horrible-weather-is-approaching recipe. The stew is hearty, a little spicy and tastes just as good, if not better, the next day for lunch. For more heat, up the amount of red pepper flakes, one teaspoon at a time; for a milder stew, don't put any red pepper flakes in at all. It goes great with a few slices on hearty bread. I used this recipe from Bon Appetit, with a few tweaks.

Makes 4 servings
Total time to cook: 1 hour

1.5 lbs stew beef, cut into 1-inch chunks
Kosher salt
Black pepper
3 tbsp vegetable oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 cayenne chiles, seeded and minced (can substitute with 3 serrano chiles)
1 1-inch piece of ginger, sliced very thin
2 tsp turmeric
3 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 lb small carrots, scrubbed, trimmed and cut in half
1/2 lb red bliss potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 small white onions, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 can of coconut milk, at least 13.5 oz
1 tsp red pepper flakes
- In a large pot, heat half of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Season the beef with salt and pepper, and cook in two batches. Add the rest of the vegetable oil for the second batch. Cook the meat until it starts to brown on all sides.
- Remove the meat to a plate, but keep the heat on. Add the garlic, ginger and chiles to the pot. Cook for one to two minutes, stirring constantly. Add the turmeric and cook for another minute. When the ingredients start to brown, but before they burn, add the broth and the beef. Stir and scrape up any spices that are stuck to the bottom or sides of the pot.
- Bring the broth to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the stew and simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the carrots, potatoes, onions, coconut milk and red pepper flakes. Stir until all the ingredients are mixed together, and then cover and simmer for at least another 15 minutes. The stew is done once the potatoes and carrots are cooked (they should be soft but not falling apart).
- Serve hot.

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