As I first bit into this delicious Georgian beef stew, I was intrigued by the fact that, as with many early Jewish recipes I have found around the world, the beef, often a tough inexpensive cut, is first boiled in water until it is almost tender and then layered with flavor from onions, spices, and bright red bell peppers. No browning the meat first for this recipe! After slowly simmering the beef for a few hours, you are rewarded with a melt-in-your-mouth, silky stew—a perfect main dish for Passover or any special occasion throughout the year. And, as they say in Georgia, —ghmert`ma shegargos, or bon appétit!
Serves 6 to 8
2 pounds stewing beef, cut into 1½-inch chunks
2 large red bell peppers (about 1 pound), cut into 1-inch squares
10 ounces high-quality canned plum tomatoes (or about 4 fresh plum tomatoes, peeled, crushed with your hands)
2 heaping tablespoons tomato paste
2 large onions, diced (2 cups)
5 cloves garlic, minced (2 tablespoons)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
½ teaspoon hot paprika, or to taste
½ teaspoon sweet paprika, or to taste
½ bunch parsley, chopped and divided
1) Put the meat in a Dutch oven or similar heavy pot and cover with about 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until almost tender, adding more water if necessary. You might have to periodically skim foam that accumulates on the top.
2) Add the red peppers and the tomatoes, stir and cook uncovered for another 20 minutes.
3) Stir in the tomato paste, onions and garlic, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for another 40 minutes to 1 hour, or until the beef is very tender and almost falling apart.
4) Season with salt, pepper, and hot and sweet paprika to taste and stir in half the parsley. Serve over rice or potatoes, sprinkled with the remaining parsley.
Excerpted from “King Solomon’s Table” by Joan Nathan. Copyright ©2017 by Random House. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.