Mighty Meaty

Potato, Beef and Peanut Pot

casaveneracion.com Potato, Beef and Peanut Pot

I brought this to our weekly get-together with friends last night. There is some sort of unwritten rule in our group that whatever we bring to our potluck weekly dinner, it has to be something special.

The source of this recipe is a cookbook called Practical One Pot (UK, Parragon Press, 2002), one of the four cookbooks that my mother-in-law gave me on my last birthday. When I first saw this recipe, I was instantly reminded of our own kare-kare. This potato, beef and peanut pot is a peanut butter based stew. While we use atsuwete (annatto) to add a reddish tinge to our kare-kare, this one uses paprika. And, of course, this dish does not use tropical vegetables. Not as “sinful” as kare-kare either because you can use leaner cuts of beef to make this dish. In fact, the original recipe calls for sirloin. I substituted the cheaper brisket.

Ingredients :

1 kilo of beef brisket
1/2 kilo of potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
4 red bell peppers, cored seeded and cut into slivers
250 g. of chicharo (snow peas or snap peas), ends and sides trimmed
1 head of garlic, whole
1 head of garlic, peeled and minced
1 large onion, whole
1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tsp. of paprika (I substituted 1 tbsp. of atsuwete powder)
2 tbsps. of vegetable oil
6 tbsps. of butter
4 tbsps. of light soy sauce
1/3 c. of chunky peanut butter
2 tbsps. of roasted unsalted peanuts

Cooking procedure :

Place the brisket in a casserole and pour enough water to cover. Add the whole garlic and onion. Season lightly with salt. Slow cook until fork tender. Transfer the meat to a plate and cool. Strain the broth. Measure about 5 cups and reserve.

Cut the beef brisket into large “fingers” about an inch wide, an inch deep and two inches long. To prevent the meat from crumbling, wrap the cooled meat in cling wrap and chill for about an hour in the fridge before cutting.

Place the peanuts in a thick plastic bag and use a rolling pin to lightly crush them.

Heat the butter and vegetable oil in a heavy (thick-bottomed) sauce pan. DO NOT use a thin-bottomed sauce pan because after adding the peanut butter, the sauce will easily scorch the bottom of the pan. Pan-fry the beef for about a minute. Add the minced garlic and sliced onion. Cook for another minute. Add the soy sauce, stir and continue cooking for another 30 seconds.

Dissolve the chunky peanut butter in one cup of broth.

Pour about two cups of broth into the sauce pan. Add the potato wedges and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes or until the potatoes are done. Pour in the diluted peanut butter. Add the paprika or atsuwete powder. Stir well. If the sauce is too thick, add more broth, little by little, until the consistency is such that the peanut butter does not stick to the bottom of the pan (the sauce should be thicker, but smoother, than that of kare-kare).

Add the chicharo and bell peppers. Stir. Cover and simmer for two minutes. Uncover and add the crushed peanuts. Stir. Season with more salt, if preferred.

Serve hot.

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