November is the perfect month for soups and stews of all varieties. I craved beef stew, but wanted to add a up the spice level. I used harissa paste (my favorite paste, as everyone knows) along with a combination of aromatic spices to create a really delicious pot of stew.
You can serve this with a bit of heavy cream drizzled on top of each bowl, or serve it as-is.
Skill Level: Easy
Time to Make: 2 hours (1 hour 30 minutes inactive)
2 pounds chuck
4 celery stalks, plus leaves
2 medium onions
2 tablespoons harissa paste
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup flour
4 large carrots
3-4 cups beef stock
1 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Cayenne powder to taste
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
Heavy cream, optional, for serving
Olive oil, for browning the beef
Prepare Ingredients: Pat the beef dry and season with salt and pepper. Cut in large cubes. Add the onion and celery stalks (including leaves) to a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Remove some additional celery leaves from the stalk and mince and reserve for garnish. Trim the carrots and cut into large pieces (I cut each carrot into thirds).
Brown the beef: Heat a slick of olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot. Once very hot, brown the beef in batches. Cook the beef cubes for 3-5 minutes on each side until well browned and crisping up around the edges. Note: If there seems to be a lot of excess oil in the pot, you can drain it off, but don’t remove anything stuck to the bottom of the skillet.
Start the Stew: Add the celery and onions to the hot pot and cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the harissa paste and tomato paste and cook for 3-5 minutes or until the paste starts to turn a deeper red color. Add the flour and stir to coat everything in the pot and cook for 1 minute more.
Add the beef stock and reduce heat to medium low and whisk continuously until the flour is completely incorporated into the liquid and the broth is smooth. Add the can of tomatoes and their liquid. Add the cumin, paprika, ground ginger, garlic powder, cayenne powder to taste and celery salt. Season with salt and pepper. Carefully add the beef and the carrots and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook for at least 1 hour 30 minutes, stirring occasionally throughout cooking.
Finish the Stew: Taste the stew and season to your liking. Use a spoon to lightly mash some of the tomatoes to break them up a bit. Remove the beef cubes from the pot and transfer to a bowl and lightly shred the meat and return it back to the pot. Note: You do not have to completely shred the beef; simply break apart some of the cubes. You will want a mix of some shredded and some cubed beef throughout the stew.
To Serve: Ladle a few spoonfuls of the stew between bowls. Sprinkle a few minced celery leaves on top and drizzle with heavy cream, if desired. Enjoy!