David's Recipe for Beef Stew with Pears

Based on a passing reference to a mutton dish in Maalouf's Leo Africanus. Woe to those who base recipes on passing references in novels!

Main Course, Not quite Moroccan

  • 3 kg stewing beef, cut into pieces about 1"x1"x2", or however you like them
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided into 3 portions
  • 3 onions, cut into Cs
  • Small handful of flour
  • Seeds from 20 cardamom pods
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 330 ml bottle apple concentrate
  • 8 pears, cored and sliced into rings
  • 1/2 coffee spoon ground coriander
  • Boiling water to cover (about 2 quarts)
  • Minced chilis, to taste
  • Sugar, as needed, depending on the apple concentrate and the pears
  1. Brown the beef and transfer it to a pot.
  2. Add the water, cardamom, bay leaf, apple concentrate, coriander, chilis, and sugar to the beef water. Set to simmer.
  3. Brown the onions over a moderate flame. When they are both caramel-colored and somewhat caramelized, mix in the flour.
  4. Brown for a few more minutes. The flour sticking to the onions will behave like a roux.
  5. Add the onions to the beef.
  6. Saute the pears over a moderate flame until they start to brown slightly. Add to the beef.
  7. Simmer the beef for about 3 to 4 hours, depending on the beef. If the water level drops below the top of the beef, add more boiling water.
  8. Serve with rice.

E-mail me