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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Bifes a la Criolla (Thin beef steaks in a stew) (Argentinian)

Argentinian beef needs no introduction as an ingredient, and hopefully, nor do Argentinian beef dishes. This particular stew comes together in less than 1 hour and it's delicious to say the least.

If it's your first time cooking Argentinian beef and you don't have a lot of experience with beef stews in general, this is a good recipe to start with. It's quite fuss-free to make, can't go wrong with it (as long as you get some high-quality meat) and everyone will want seconds.

Recipe source: the Hispanic Kitchen

Last year: Almond and khaki (persimmon) tart(s).
Two years ago: Eggplant-tomato-pepper cous cous with mozzarella
Three years ago: Basic pancakes (crepes) (Romanian).
Four years ago: Focaccia with garlic oil, rosemary and yellow tomatoes (Italian) (vegan)Avgolemono (Greek chicken, lemon and egg soup) and Rice and hazelnut spicy colorful salad (vegan).

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. (500 g) sirloin tip roast, rump roast, or beef round, trimmed of fat and cut into long strips or slices
  • 2 large onions, julienned
  • 2 large red bell peppers, julienned
  • 1 lb. (500 g) potatoes, peeled and sliced in ¼” (2 cm) thick rounds
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsp. aj√≠ molido [you can substitute crushed red pepper flakes]
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • chopped parsley, to taste

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Brown the meat fast on all sides, then add the onions, pepper and potatoes. Season with salt, pepper, aji molido (or red pepper flakes) and thyme after each layer.

Pour the beef stock gently in the pan, careful not to disturb the seasonings. Also add the bay leaves, then bring the whole pot to a boil. After it starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium low, cover and let cook for 40-50 minutes. 

To make sure the dish is done, it's enough to check if the potatoes are cooked. Divide it between serving plates and top each serving with fresh parsley. It's done, dig in! :)

Pro tip: Some Argentinian home cooks serve this with a cooked egg as well. If you want to try this addition as well, then make 4 little holes in the meat and vegetable mass, towards the end of the cooking time. Crack an egg in each hole, cover and let cook. Rest assured that the dish is delicious enough by itself, though. :)

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