This stew, whilst Spanish in origin, has been adapted over time to represent the early gaucho culture of Argentina: prepared in one big pot and to serve many.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) chuck (braising) steak, cut into 3–4 cm (1¼–1½ in) pieces
- 2 brown onions, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 400 g (14 oz) tomatoes, chopped
- 3–4 small fresh bay leaves
- 1 tbsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) beef stock
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 3 cm (1¼ in) chunks
- 300 g (10½ oz) butternut pumpkin (acorn squash), peeled, seeds removed and chopped into 3-cm (1¼ in) chunks
- 4 small kipfler (fingerling) potatoes, halved lengthways
- 6 small fresh apricots, halved and stones removed
- soft white bread, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
1. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan or flameproof casserole dish over high heat. Add half the beef and cook, turning frequently, for 8–10 minutes, until well browned all over. Transfer the beef to a plate. Allow the oil in the pan to reheat and cook the remaining beef. Transfer to the plate and set aside.
2. Add the onion to the pan and sauté for 2–3 minutes, until softened. Stir through the garlic and cook for a few seconds, then add the tomato, bay leaves, paprika and cumin. Sauté for 4–5 minutes, until the spices become aromatic, then add the stock. Season well with salt and pepper and stir to remove any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Return the beef to the pan, along with any juices. Bring to the boil, then stir through the sweet potato, pumpkin, potato and apricot. Reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover and cook for 1½ hours, until the meat, vegetables and apricots are completely tender. Uncover the pan, increase the heat to high and boil for 10 minutes, until the liquid has reduced.
3. Serve hot with soft white bread on the side for dipping into the stew.
Recipe from The Food of Argentina by Ross Dobson and Rachel Tolosa Paz, Smith Street Books, RRP $44.99