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
- Brown the beef and transfer it to a pot.
- Add the water, cardamom, bay leaf, apple concentrate, coriander, chilis, and sugar to the beef water. Set to simmer.
- Brown the onions over a moderate flame. When they are both caramel-colored and somewhat caramelized, mix in the flour.
- Brown for a few more minutes. The flour sticking to the onions will behave like a roux.
- Add the onions to the beef.
- Saute the pears over a moderate flame until they start to brown slightly. Add to the beef.
- 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.
- Serve with rice.