Monday, October 14, 2013

White Bean and Carrot Stew by Tom

White Bean and Carrot Stew by Tom
We recently returned from a trip to Italy and the Netherlands.  We had great food along the way as you might suspect.  The food in Italy was terrific and was somewhat familiar as we make many Italian dishes ourselves.  But Dutch food was another matter.  From previous visits I was familiar with the Indonesian influenced dishes and had eaten some wonderful seafood dishes as well.  But I was completely unaware of their "stampotten", one-pan meals.  The early versions of crock pot meals, which are popular today.

We bought a Dutch cookbook to try to recreate some of the flavors that we experienced in Amsterdam.  Paging through the book I discovered a one-pan white bean and carrot stew that looked both interesting and appetizing.  It also includes beef, so it is not a vegetarian meal.  The secret to this meal is to cook the meat in a butter, garlic and shallot infused beef stock for several hours.  It not only makes the beef very tender, but adds a wonderful flavor to the meat.  The white beans and carrots add both crunch and bulk to the stew itself.

The name may not sound very appealing, but trust me, the taste very much is.  I will definitely make this one-pan meal again.


White Bean and Carrot Stew
(from Dutch Cooking Today)

Serves four.  Preparation and cooking time is approximately 2 - 2 1/2 hours


2 large carrots, peeled and cubed
2 cans white butter beans, drained
1 1/4 pounds top round steak, fat trimmed and cut into bite-size cubes
2 ounces unsalted butter
2 shallots, peeled and chopped finely
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped finely
Salt and pepper to taste
7 fluid ounces of beef stock initially, a little more later in the cooking
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 teaspoon paprika
6 ounces tomato puree

In a large, heavy casserole melt the butter over medium-high heat.

When the butter is hot but not brown, add the cubed meat and sauté until browned on all sides.

Add the chopped garlic and shallots and continue sautéing for several more minutes.  Don't let the garlic or shallots burn, so continual stirring is necessary.  Add salt and pepper here as well.  Next add the beef stock and bring to a boil.  Cover the casserole and turn down the heat to simmer. Let it cook for 1-1 1/2 hours.
After the beef is tender, add the white beans, carrots and red bell pepper strips.

Add the tomato puree and paprika as well.  You will have to judge the amount of remaining liquid in your casserole.  I found it necessary to add about another quarter cup of beef stock to insure there was enough liquid.

Stir thoroughly, cover and cook for just 20 minutes.

When it is done, the red bell pepper will be soft, the beans warmed completely, and the carrots cooked but still somewhat crunchy.  This made the dish different from traditional stews that cook the carrots until they are very soft.

After the requisite 20 minutes, remove from the heat and dish it into a bowl.

This is a simple one-pan meal done the Dutch way!


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