If you can cook with fruit jam, you can cook with dried fruits. If you think that broth makes a good stew, wine can make a better stew. This beef stew was made with dried apricot halves and red wine. No water, no broth. So good, I had two servings.
I cooked the stew in the oven to minimize evaporation. You can cook it on the stovetop but you might have to add broth, little by little, if the liquid evaporates faster than the beef can cook.
First, let me tell you about the apricots. One of my readers, Emy, is in the country for a vacation and the bag of dried apricots was only one of the many wonderful things she gifted me and my family with. I met her last weekend (in the photo below, Emy on the left, me on the right). I wish we could have had more time to chat but that’s life.
Thank you, Emy. Speedy loves the pistachio, I won’t be able to make ice cream out of the nuts because they all went happily into Speedy’s tummy. The girls have already divided the T-shirts between them and you’ll see the china plates in the food photos soon. Again, thank you, and it was lovely meeting you.
Now, the recipe.
- 1/2 kg. of beef brisket, cut into two-inch cubes
1 tsp. of salt
1/2 tsp. of pepper
1/4 c. of flour
1/3 c. of butter
1 c. of chopped onion
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 bottle of your favorite red wine
about a cup of dried unsweetened apricot halves
4 to 5 sprigs of fresh tarragon
salt, pepper and sugar, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 325F.
Place the beef cubes in a resealable bag. Add the salt, pepper and flour. Shake to coat each piece of beef well.
Heat the butter in a thick-bottomed pot. Brown the beef cubes in batches. Transfer the browned pieces to a bowl and brown the next batch, and so on.
In the remaining butter in the pot, gently cook the onion and celery until slightly softened.
Return the beef to the pot and pour in the red wine.
Add the apricot halves.
Stir well. Boil, uncovered, for about seven minutes to allow the alcohol to evaporate so that only the rich fruity flavors of the wine remain.
Add the tarragon to the pot. Season with salt and pepper and, depending on whether you used dry, semi-sweet or sweet wine, you might want to add sugar. Cover the pot, transfer to the preheated oven and cook for two-and-a-half to three hours or until the beef is very, very tender.
The sauce will thicken because the flour that coats the beef cubes will get mixed with the wine and meat juices. The apricots will be very soft by the time the stew is done. It’s a rich and delicious stew and not that complicated to prepare.
Cooking time (duration): about 3 hours
Number of servings (yield): 4
Meal type: supper