Fragrant beef stew with aubergine

I am moving house this weekend and so I am trying to keep my fresh food to a minimum. This recipe demonstrates the importance of always having a basic set of spices and sauces handy in your kitchen, such as stock, herbs and garlic, without which I could not have made this delicious dish! I went to buy some fruit earlier today and for some reason, I was also compelled to buy an aubergine. When I got home, I discovered some beef in the freezer. Jackpot! This stew turned out way better than I expected – I didn’t think it would make it to the blog but here it is! In my mind, this dinner cost me 60p, as the aubergine was the only thing I bought for it.

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Note: One of the few things I don’t like is tomato… normally a stew like this would include canned or fresh tomatoes but I substituted with a little bit of tomato puree, which simply enhances the flavour of the beef stock and spices without the overpowering tomato taste.

Serves 2-3 people

  • 400g beef pieces (ideally stewing steak)
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • Salt/pepper
  • 1 aubergine/eggplant, cut into cubes
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp paprika powder
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp mixed herbs
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 500ml water
  • 1 cube beef stock
  • Juice of half a lemon

Put the beef pieces into a bowl and mix with the flour, salt and pepper. In a saucepan, fry the beef in 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp vegetable oil for 2-3 minutes on high heat until it is browned on the outside. Remove and keep aside. Add another tbsp of olive oil and fry the aubergine on medium heat, adding a bit of water. Remove after around 5 minutes and keep aside.

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In the remaining tbsp of olive oil, fry the garlic for 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Then add the cumin, coriander, paprika, chilli, bay leaf, mixed herbs and tomato puree. Stir for a minute and then add the water, beef stock and lemon. Bring to a boil and then add the beef pieces back in. Cover the saucepan and let stew for around 1 hour on low heat. Then add the aubergine and let it stew for another 5-10 minutes. Adjust for salt, and serve! Goes well with pasta, rice, or even couscous.

Tip: I was too hungry to let the stew simmer for one hour, so I just served myself some after 30 minutes and then continued simmering as I ate. It was perfect by the time I took my second portion J

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