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One–pot Vietnamese Beef Stew
Saturday, 18 October 2014
I road-tested my new casserole with a recipe I have
been making for years - Vietnamese beef stew. It is such an amazingly fragrant
and comforting dish that, like most stews, tastes even better the
day after it’s made. You can use inexpensive cuts of meat (braising
steak, or shin) as the long and slow cooking guarantees they will be
melt-in-the-mouth tender by time you tuck in. I like to add
butternut squash to make this stew stretch further and occasionally
throw in sweet potatoes as well. Just add these vegetables towards
the end as they will disintegrate too much if added early on. Serve
in the casserole (it will keep the food warm plus it looks so good
on the table) with plenty of crusty bread - a French baguette
preferably - and some red wine.
beef shin, cut into cubes
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp Chinese five spice powder
1 tsp ground pepper
2 lemongrass stalks, finely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp palm sugar (or dark brown sugar)
4 banana shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 green chillies, finely chopped
4 large tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
2 kaffir lime leaves
625ml | 2 1/2 cups hot beef stock
450g | 1lb butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
Basil leaves, chopped to garnish
1. Combine the beef, flour, spice, pepper, lemongrass,
garlic, soy sauce and sugar in a bowl and mix well. Leave to
marinate for an hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 160C (325F) and have all your
3. Put the oil in the casserole and heat over medium high
heat. Once the oil is hot, lower the temperature to
medium-low and brown the beef cubes.
4. Add the shallots and chilies and fry for a couple of
5. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, carrots, cinnamon stick,
star anise, kaffir lime leaves and stock and bring slowly to
a rolling simmer.
6. Cover the casserole and transfer to the oven. Cook for an
hour then add the butternut squash (be careful the pot will
be very hot) and give the stew a stir.
7. Return to the oven and cook for a further 45 minutes to 1
hour until meat is very tender.
8. Add some chopped basil leaves, check the seasoning and
serve with crusty bread.
Notes: You can make this in any lidded casserole (Dutch
oven) and it can be left to slowly simmer on the stove for 2