Spicy Beef Stew

In my previous blog, I told you that I have been using a lot of dried chilis, which have a wonderful flavor with rehydrated.  I like rehydrating them, simmering them up and then blending them up into sauces or bases for depth of flavor and spicyness on the back of your palate.  Meaning, your tongue doesn’t light up like salsa, but you have that deep, smoky spicy background.   You can find these packaged or in bulk in Latin food markets or in the Latin foods section of most large chain grocery stores.  Here is a beef stew I put together this weekend along those lines.
Spicy Beef Stew – by Debra Crawford, Serves 6

Chili Base
4 – Dry New Mexico Chilis – stems removed
2 – Stalks celery, rough chopped
1/2 Large Onion rough chopped (1 cup)
1 – Large carrot sliced 1/4 ” thickness
3  – Cloves garlic smashed
1 – Teaspoons salt
1/2 – Teaspoon ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 – Can Beef broth plus 1/2 Cup water, or straight water if you don’t have broth on hand.
2 – Cups red wine, (don’t break the bank here, any red should do – i literally used a $2 cab I picked up at Wal-Mart)
2 – Tablespoons tomato paste

In medium saucepan, heat olive oil and lightly saute celery, onion and carrot for about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, salt, pepper, chilis and liquid.  Cover and simmer on low for 1/2 hour or until chilis are rehydrated.

Add mixture to blender with 2 Cups of red wine and 2 Tablespoons (approximately 1/2 of a 6 ounce can) of tomato paste.  Puree thoroughly.  This will be your stew liquid base.  Set aside.

Stew Ingredients
(chili base from above)
2 1/2 Lb – Beef – I used boneless short ribs for this, but chuck or stew meat would also be fine.  Trim excess fat and any sinew and cut into 3/4″ chunks
1 – Tablespoon paprika
1 – Teaspoon salt
1/2 – Teaspoon ground black pepper ( I always use fresh ground)
1 – Teaspoon dried Oregano, crushed between your hands
1 1/2 – Teaspoon fresh Rosemary, minced
1 – Teaspoon fresh Thyme, minced
2 – Cups – Yellow Onion, chopped rough
1 – Cup – Celery, sliced to your desired thickness.  I like mine about 1/4″ – 1/2″.
4 – Medium Potatoes – cubed (about 3/4″ cubes)
4 – Medium Carrots – sliced about 1/2″ slices
1 1/2 – Cups frozen peas

In large bowl, mix together the paprika, salt, oregano, and pepper.  Toss with beef.  In large heavy gauge soup pot, heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil.  Add beef and saute until lightly browned, approximately 5 – 7 minutes.  Add celery and onion and saute about 5 minutes more, scrapping bits from bottom of pan.  Add chili mix, rosemary, thyme and stir thoroughly.  Bring to a boil, then simmer on low for 60 minutes.  Add potatoes, carrots and frozen peas.  Simmer on low for an additional hour, checking and stirring at 15 minute intervals until vegetables and beef are tender.
Beef Stew Chili Base
Stew Ingredients (chili base on left)

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