Welcome to the main event! Yep, it’s this beautifully tender, melt-in-the-mouth, Beef and Apricot Stew!
I decided to move away from the typical turkey recipes flying around the inter-webs this time of year, and bring you this beef dish instead. I’m not much of a turkey lover if we’re being honest, and eating it once a year on Christmas day just about satisfies my turkey quota for the year. So when it comes to festive entertaining, I usually gravitate towards red meat. Stewing beef is great for this time of year. Not only is it cheap, but it’s incredibly flavoursome once it’s been slow cooked.
Beef also tends to absorb flavours really well, especially if it’s been cooked slowly. So you get to enjoy those lovely warming spices of cumin and smoked paprika. The apricots also bring a wonderful sweetness here, and an added festive touch!
If you’re hosting a dinner party, you can prepare the beef and apricot stew hours in advance of your dinner guests arriving. It can be slow cooking in the oven whilst you’re eating your starters (see my Spiced Parsnip Soup), and taken out whenever you’re ready to dish up the main.
I hope you’re enjoying my Christmas Menu plan so far! Please let me know if you get round to making this Beef and Apricot Stew, and remember to tag your H + B creations with #heartandbowl
Plus, keep and eye out for next week’s recipe, where I will be sharing the finishing touch to my 3-course Christmas Menu… Dessert!
- 800g good-quality stewing beef, cut into large chunks
- 2 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 red peppers, deseeded + chopped into large chunks
- 200g dried apricots
- 2 x 400g canned chopped tomatoes
- 3 tbsp tomato purée
- salt and pepper
- a handful of fresh coriander
- flaked almonds
- Preheat the oven to 160ºC/300ºF/gas 2.
- Rub the stewing beef with the cumin, smoked paprika and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- In a large pan, fry the onions in 1 tbsp of oil until soft. Add the peppers, apricots, chopped tomatoes and tomato purée. Season to taste and allow to simmer on low.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining tbsp of oil in another pan, and brown the meat on all sides for no longer than 2 minutes. Add the meat to the pepper, apricots and tomatoes, and stir. Now transfer the stew into a large heat-proof casserole dish and cover with a lid.
- Cook in the oven until the meat is tender. This will usually take between 2-3 hours depending on what cut of meat you’re using. The best way to test this, is to carefully press on a piece of meat with a fork, and if it falls apart easily, it’s ready.
- Ladle into bowls on top of sticky white rice (or cauliflower rice for a healthier alternative.) Top with a handful of fresh coriander and sprinkle over some flaked almonds.
For the veggie option, swap out the stewing beef with two large sweet potatoes. Peel and chop them into large chunks. Cover them with a tbsp of oil and the spices. Add the sweet potato into the pan with the peppers, apricots and tomatoes. Once transferred into the oven, you will only need to cook the stew for 1 - 2 hours, or until the sweet potatoes are soft.