Sunday, April 5, 2009

You Say Puchero, I Say Pochero (Filipino Beef Stew)

This took quite a bit longer than I had anticipated, and was a bit more complicated than I wanted dinner to be, but turned out wonderfully. And, as it's a stew (albeit a very soupy one, as I used all the delicious broth), I expect it will taste even better tomorrow. It's based on two recipes - one from Filipino Cooking Here and Abroad, and the other from this website - and the usual impulse to use up the greatest number of perishables. Would have rather gotten shanks instead of supermarket-style stew beef cubes, but EM was closed, alas.
  • 1.75 lbs. stew beef, cut into inch-square cubes
  • 1 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1-1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 medium onions - 1 sliced,1 chopped
  • 7 cloves garlic - 4 crushed, 3 minced
  • 3 celery stems - 2 cut into 4 in. lengths, one chopped (will probably leave out the chopped portion next time)
  • 2 chorizos or 4 oz. spicy pepperoni (used the latter since I didn't have any chorizo handy)
  • 1 14-oz. can of tomatoes
  • 1 14-oz. can of chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp. peanut oil
  • 1/2 head medium cabbage, quartered
  • 1 medium potato, cut into 1-2 in. chunks
  • 6 scallions, cut into 2-in. lengths
Place the beef, peppercorns, salt, sliced onion, crushed garlic and 2 celery stems in a large pot or Dutch oven and cover with water (about 4 cups in this case). Bring to a boil then simmer till the beef is tender - anywhere from 1-1/2 to 2 hours. (The recipe to this point makes a nice, tasty beef broth that I'll be using as a base in the future, especially for nilagang baka [beef soup].) Add the chorizo or pepperoni 30 min. before you finish cooking this part.

Place the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute the chopped onion and garlic for a few minutes, till the onion turns translucent. Add the tomatoes - crushing or chopping them, as is your preference - and cook till the mixture turns saucy for about 5 minutes (if you're more patient than I was at this point, you can cook them for another 5-10 minutes or so, till they break down and turn saucy). Add the chickpeas and cook for another 5 minutes.

Once the beef is tender and the chorizo/pepperoni has cooked, add the potatoes, chopped carrots and chopped celery. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add the cabbage. Cook for about 10 minutes more or till the vegetables are tender but still have bite to them.

Add the tomato mixture to the large pot. Stir to combine and cook for another minute or two. Correct seasoning.

Remove from heat, add the scallions and cover. Wait 5 minutes, then serve over white rice.

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