The second in the series of recipes from Vierka’s rural kitchen is this flavourful, sticky beef stew. Made from the meat of a locally raised young ox and home-grown vegetables, it was an absolute delight to eat. It came with a dollop of boiled rice covered in grated cheese.
My friend used her pressure cooker to reduce the cooking time while keeping all the flavours in. However, most Slovaks make their stew in a classical cooking pot, even though it takes much longer. Surely, you can do other small jobs while the meat is cooking, as long as you stir it occasionally and add more water when needed. The important rule here is that the meat is covered in simmering liquids until it is cooked to desirable tenderness.
Beef Stew with Garden Peas
1,2 kg beef
2 tablespoons oil or pork fat
4 large onions
500 ml beer
water or vegetable stock as needed
300 g garden peas (fresh, frozen or canned)
200 – 300 g tomato purée
salt and black pepper to taste
grated cheese (to sprinkle over the boiled rice)
For the marinade: 4 – 5 tablespoons oil, 2 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon mustard, 1 tablespoon ketchup, 2 teaspoons paprika, ½ teaspoon oregano, ½ teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon turmeric, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon curry powder
Wash the meat and pat it dry. Cut into cubes of about 2 cm wide. Prepare the marinade by mixing all the ingredients well and soak the beef cubes in it. Either use your hand or a spatula to spread the marinade all around the meat pieces. Let stand overnight in a cool, dark place.
Peel and chop the onions. Rinse the chilli. Put the oil or pork fat in a pressure cooker and throw in the chopped onions. Let them sweat over a medium heat until translucent, then add the marinated meat. Season with salt and black pepper, increase the heat and fry the meat cubes on all sides until deep brown. Pour in the beer and just enough water or vegetable stock to cover the meat. Stir well and lock the cooker lid in place. Bring the pressure cooker to a steady steam and cook for 20 – 40 minutes (depending on the cut of meat and its toughness).
Turn off the heat and let the pressure cooker stand on the stove/cooker plate for another 15 minutes, or until the steam stops coming from under the pressure valve.
When it is safe to open it, take the cooker lid off and add the garden peas, the chilli and the tomato purée. Bring to a simmer and cook together for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and black pepper, take out the chilli, if preferred, and serve with boiled rice sprinkled with grated cheese.
For those who can’t do without meat, this certainly is a hearty, filling lunch/dinner that will keep you going for quite a few hours.