Another one for the Slow Cooker: Beef Stew with Beer and Apricots

You know you’re in South Africa when you’re paging through a magazine and you come across a recipe for Braised Kudu with Beer and Apricots! And then the kicker is the note at the end of the recipe that says you can substitute the kudu with springbok or impala! I still laugh at this more than 10 years after I first saw this recipe during a visit to Cape Town, and brought it back home with me .

Needless to say, a meat substitution was required, so in went beef in place of the more exotic venison! While I have never tasted this stew with its originally designated meat, I can honestly say that it comes out beautifully with beef, and I really don’t think you need to take the extraordinary measures required to find kosher venison for this dish. I have made this stew on a pot on the stove and in the slow cooker. I love the slow cooked version, but the pot stew comes out tender and delicious as well.

So as we “enjoy” the last few weeks of real winter, slip this stew into your menus and enjoy a hearty main course that will put a smile on everyone’s face, especially the deer.

BEEF STEW WITH BEER AND APRICOTS 

Ingredients 

Beef Stew with Beer and Apricots

2-3 kg stewing beef  cut into large cubes (I use neck/tzavar – see diagram for a guide to beef cuts in Hebrew)

About ½ cup of flour seasoned with salt, pepper and a bit of powdered garlic and sweet paprika

3-4 tablespoons oil

1 large onion peeled and sliced

4 carrots peeled and cut into 2-3 c, (1 inch) slices

330 ml (11 fl oz) beer (the darker the better)

500 ml (1 pint) beef or chicken stock (or enough to make sure the meat is covered)

100 g (3 oz) tomato paste

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard

300g fresh or dried apricots (I always use dried because fresh apricots are seasonal in summer, when I don’t make this stew!)

Salt and ground black pepper

2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

How to do it

1. In a large skillet or pan, add the oil and heat up. Roll the pieces of beef in the seasoned flour and seal the meat in the hot oil, making sure all sides are sealed and lightly browned. Put sealed pieces into a large pot or the slow cooker. Add more oil to the pan if required to seal all the pieces. When you are finished sealing the meat, do not discard the oil.

2. Fry the onion and carrot in the oil from the meat until the onion begins to soften (about 4 minutes) and add to the meat.

3a. If you are cooking the stew in a pot, add the beer, stock and tomato paste to the meat, bring to the boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer for about 1½ hours until the meat is tender, stirring every now and again.  Then add the sugar, mustard, seasoning and apricots and simmer for another 30 minutes until the meat is very tender. Stir in the parsley, add more seasoning if required and serve.

3b. If you are cooking the stew in a slow cooker, add all the remaining ingredients, cook for 8 hours on low or for 4 hours on high.

Serve with rice or mashed potatoes.

Serves about 8.

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