We are at the end of our winter season here in North Texas (of course, as I type this I’m sure some snowstorm will decide to give us a surprise). The mornings are still dark and chilly, but by the afternoon on a sunny day the temperatures are grasping at the 60 degree mark. It makes it very hard to stay indoors at work, and I usually spend my afternoons daydreaming of sipping mojitos on a patio bathed in sunlight. But the reality is I have to keep working all day so I can afford those dreamy mojitos.
I turn to my evening meals to give me comfort from the cool nighttime temps, but still remind me that tomorrow we could experience another warm, spring-like afternoon. This stew recipe is a perfect compliment to those feelings. The word stew pretty much means “cold night” in my book and the kick of jalapeno is a spicy reminder of the summer weather ahead.
Jalapeno Beef Stew
Adapted from A Cowboy in the Kitchen
If you’re trying to avoid cooking with butter, you can brown the meat in vegetable oil. Also, if you’re not accustomed to cooking with jalapenos, make sure to coat your hands in olive oil or wear gloves while cutting and seeding to avoid a burn.
6 whole shallots
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter or vegetable oil
1 lb. beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes (or pre-cut stew meat)
1/3 cup flour
3-4 jalapeños, seeded and minced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 large potato, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 red onion, peeled and diced
1 cup port or red wine
2 cup beef stock (fresh or canned)
1 tablespoon rubbed sage
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Toss shallots with olive oil and roast in a 350 degree for 35 minutes or until soft and brown. Set aside. Heat butter or vegetable oil in a large deep saucepan/dutch oven over medium heat. Toss beef with flour to coat and place in hot butter or oil. Increase heat and sauté for 5-10 minutes. (Don’t crowd the meat.) Transfer meat to a bowl, cover it loosely with aluminum foil, and set aside. Using the same large saucepan/dutch oven, sauté jalapeños, carrots, potato, and red onion in meat drippings over medium heat, tossing to prevent burning, until onion turns translucent. Stir in wine, beef stock, sage, and oregano. Cook over low heat, with lid slightly ajar, for 30-40 minutes. Stir in reserved beef and shallots, and continue cooking for 30 more minutes or until meat and vegetables are done. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.