Slow cooked Mexican Stew
Lots of vegetables and beef in a Mexican sauce make this a meal to remember.
This recipe is very versatile. You can use chicken instead of beef and substitute vegetables.
This Mexican Stew freezes very well which allows the flavours to mingle even better.
450g / 1lb Braising steak
220g / 8oz Kidney beans
220g / 8oz Sweetcorn (tinned, frozen or fresh)
220g / 8oz Chopped tomatoes
1 Large carrot
1 Large onion
2 Green chilies
1 Red sweet pepper
2 Garlic cloves
1 heaped tablespoon Flour (plain or self-raising)
1 teaspoon Cumin seeds
1 tablespoon Coriander seeds
280ml ½ pint Brown Ale
140ml ¼ pint Red wine
2 tablespoons Olive oil
Prepared ingredients for Mexican Stew
Start by peeling the onion and chopping it into small bits. Cut open the chilies, remove the seeds and finely chop. Do the same for the red pepper but chop more roughly. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Lightly peel the carrots and chop into chunks. Finally, trim the steak of excess fat and chop into 2.5 cm (1 inch) cubes.
We have called this recipe a "stew", but technically speaking it is halfway between a "casserole" and a "stew". We were going to invent our own cooking method and call it a "casstew" but that seemed to take technicalities too far!
As far as culinary definitions go, a stew is cooked on the oven top in a dish with a lid. The ingredients are well mixed together with no layers and there is a good deal of gravy.
A casserole however is normally cooked in the oven without a lid on. The ingredients tend to be layered and remain that way when cooked. Although a casserole has no lid on it, the top layer (often cheese or breadcrumbs) seals the casserole and frequently becomes crispy.
Both a stew and a casserole use slow cooking to tenderise the ingredients, especially when using ingredients such a steak.
This Mexican recipe has elements of both. It is cooked in the oven in a casserole dish which has a lid on it and this helps retain a good deal of gravy. The ingredients are not layered.
We decided to call it a stew principally because there is a good deal of gravy and no layering.
Pour a tablespoon or so of the olive oil in a frying pan and turn the heat up high. Pat the steak cubes with kitchen paper, and put the steak in the frying pan.
Cook the steak until browned (three to five minutes). This will seal in the flavour of the meat and start the cooking process. Turn the meat frequently.
Frying beef cubes for Mexican Beef Stew
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C / Fan 160°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.STEP 3
When the steak is browned, remove from the pan and place aside on a plate. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the frying pan and then add the onions, chillies and garlic.
Cook them for 5 minutes or so until the onions are tinged brown at the edges. Turn frequently while cooking.
Frying onions, chilies and garlic
When the onions, chilies and garlic are cooked, sprinkle in the flour and mix constantly for 30 seconds. The flour will absorb the remaining olive oil.
Add the onion / chilies / garlic, browned meat, tomatoes, brown ale, wine to a casserole dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (not much), cover and put into the oven at 180°C / Fan 160°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.
Begin to cook the Mexican Beef Stew
Next, put the cumin and coriander seeds into the frying pan at a medium heat and stir them around for two minutes. They will begin to jump around the pan when ready!
You can crush them if you want or leave them whole (we preferred this). Either way take the casserole from the oven and mix the seeds into it. Place the casserole dish back into the oven and cover it to prevent the sauce evaporating.
Fry cumin and coriander seeds
Let the stew cook for a further 2 hours (half an hour more if the steak is tough) stirring half way through the cooking to stop the meat sticking to the bottom of the casserole.
Take the casserole from the oven and stir in the sweetcorn, sweet peppers, kidney beans and carrots. Cook the stew for a further 45 minutes.
Prepare the rice whilst the stew is cooking.
Cooked Mexican Beef Stew
A few minutes before the stew is cooked put some plates in the oven to warm.
Serve the Mexican Beef Stew on the plates with rice. We have used a mix of long grain and wild rice which is available in most supermarkets, it's delicious and colourful.
Mexican Beef Stew with rice