This is the day when I vow never to pay attention when I see the “Buy 1, Take 1” signs all over Shopwise. Not that the cooked dish turned out badly. On the contrary, what a salvage operation it was. The problem was the beef. The meat must have come from a hundred-year-old cow. I’ve been buying meat for over two decades and I didn’t notice? The beef was pre-sliced nicely across the grain and packed in styrofoam trays. You can’t see the grain anymore when the meat has been cut that way. Sneaky way to get rid of inferior meat, eh?
Thing is, I was planning to have this dish for lunch but when the meat was still tough as an old rubber boot at 2.00 p.m., I took out anything and everything I could find inside the fridge and reheated them. We had the beef, ginger and pineapple stew for dinner instead.
But enough complaining. This dish is a modification of a Vietnamese recipe that I found in one of my cookbooks. There is an older version, with chicken, which we enjoyed very much so I thought a Part 2 was in order. What’s the huge innovation with this version? Ginger. Lots of ginger. Turned out that ginger and pineapple go together like hand in glove.
- 500 grams stewing beef cut into pieces (how large or how small is up to you)
- 250 grams fresh pineapple cut into chunks
- 5 to 6 stalks celery cut into 1-inch lengths
- 1/2 head garlic peeled and crushed
- 1 large onion peeled and finely sliced
- 2 thumb-sized pieces ginger peeled and grated
- 4 to 5 tablespoons cooking oil
- snipped cilantro for garnish
Heat the cooking oil in a large cooking pan (a Dutch oven is ideal because this dish requires slow cooking). Add the beef, in batches if necessary, and cook until lightly browned around the edges.
Add the sliced onion, garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring, for a few minutes or until very fragrant. Season with salt and lots of freshly ground pepper. Add the celery stalks and pineapple. Pour in a cup of water. Cover and slow cook until the beef is tender.
Garnish with snipped cilantro just before serving.
1. Don’t be tempted to pour in more than a cup of water. The pineapple will expel its natural juices during cooking to provide the liquid that the beef needs to cook in.
2. Substitute canned pineapples at your own risk. They’re okay with salads but they never seem to work well in stews.