Thursday, December 17, 2009

Recipe thuRsday: Southwest Chipotle Stew

Mmmm, there's nothing like cold weather and the company of good friends to enjoy a piping hot batch of stew!  This week's recipe is a new one for the Guerra family, but it has definitely found it's place here and won't be going anytime soon.  This is a bit of a regional spin on stew and came from Cuisine Tonight Weeknight Menus.  You may remember me mentioning this little gem before; it was the same magazine cookbook we picked up at Newflower Farmer's Market some time back.  It still is the best cooking guide I've bought yet!  What makes this dish so wonderful and tasty are three ingredients yo never think to add to stew: cinnamon, orange juice, and sweet potatoes.  Before you go knockin' it, give this one a try and see if you really don't like it.  The sweet potatoes help balance out the flavors a bit and the cinnamon makes your kitchen smell heavenly, not to mention adds a whole new dimension to the stew that I never thought possible.  Seriously, give this one a try!

Southwest Chipotle Stew
1.5 lbs beef stew meat
1/2 an onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 TBSP minced garlic
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup orange juice
5 cups beef or chicken broth
1 tsp chipotle powder OR 1 chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce, minced
1/2 cup masa harina OR all purpose flour
2 large sweet potatoes cut into 1" chunks

1.  Heat the oil in a large stew pot and brown the meat in batches over high heat until it has a nice brown crust.  Remove the meat and return the pot to heat while reducing the heat to medium high.
2.  Saute the onions, bell peppers, garlic, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon in the pot for about 5 minutes.  Deglaze the pan with the orange juice and cook until the juice has almost evaporated.
3.  Stir in 4 cups of the broth, the chipotle, and the throw the meat back in.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer.  Cook for about 45 minutes or until the beef is nearly tender.
4.  Whisk together the masa and the remaining broth and stir it into the stew.  Add the sweet potatoes and cook for another 10-15 minutes.
5.  Serve up with some crusty bread, a nice red wine, and enjoy!

TIPS:  If you're like me, you only buy the 32 oz size of broth at a time.  I usually sub out one cup of the broth for water in the recipe and have had stellar results!
The cut of meat is really important for a stew; you want your meat to be tender, not touch and chewy.  The recipe cut is beef chuck arm roast.
Also, I highly recommend you NOT use a non-stick pot for this recipe.  It will still be tasty if that's all you have, but the searing and browning of the meat and veggies combined with using the OJ to deglaze the pan adds some serious yumminess that can only come from using a regular pot.
Deglazing is the method by which one uses a liquid to help remove and caramelize brown bits from the bottom of a pan while cooking.  This is why using a regular stew pot (NOT non-stick) is critical for this recipe. 

Bon apetit!

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