Baharat Spiced Beef Stew, one whacked out stew! What’s so wacky about it you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. It’s mix of Eurasian with a dash of central European, a pinch of Hungarian, and a splash of Indian mish-mash fusion throw it all in kinda stew. (That was a mouthful!) So as you can see this was one of those meals where whatever I had in the refrigerator and spice cabinet went into the pot. I have to admit that I love cooking this way, and most times I end up with great results that lead me to experiment in ways I wouldn’t have if I had planned ahead. This experiment mish-mash was a hit! We both really liked the hearty, warming stew that was spiced so well with the dominant flavors coming from a delicious spice called Baharat.
Baharat (Bahārāt) is a spice mixture commonly used in Arab, Persian and Turkish cuisine. *Bahārāt is the Arabic word for ‘spices’ (the plural form of bahār ‘spice’). The mixture of finely ground spices is often used to season lamb, fish, chicken, beef, and soups. Additionally, it may be used as a condiment, to add more flavor after a meal has been prepared. On CHOW.com Baharat is explained as usually containing hot spices (such as paprika, chiles, and black pepper), sweet spices (such as allspice, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom), warm spices (such as cumin and coriander), and resinous herbs (such as savory and mint). There are several varieties with different combinations of spices. In North Africa, crushed dried rose petals may appear in the mix. It flavors lamb, beef dishes, and tomato sauce.
10.5 oz. or 300 grams lean stewing beef, cubed
3 small carrots, sliced diagonally into 4 pieces
1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 small leek, thinly sliced and only bottom white section
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 small sweet red pepper, roughly chopped (can substitute with 1 red bell pepper)
8 very small potatoes, halved (I didn’t peel them)
1 tbsp. Turkish Bahart spice
1/2 tbsp. sweet Paprika for mild stew and chile (Cayenne) powder for spicier stew
1 tsp. ground Turmeric powder
1 tsp. cumin seed
salt & black pepper to taste
1-2 tbsp. sunflower oil or olive oil
4 cups of beef broth or 1 low sodium (no MSG) beef bouillon cube dissolved in 4 cups water
thinly sliced green/spring onions or fresh cilantro
1. Pat dry the beef with paper towels then set aside. Heat the oil in a large pot, brown the beef then remove from pot and set aside. In the same pot fry the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and leeks and fry for 2 min. Then add the rest of the vegetables and fry for another 5 minutes. Add the beef back to the pot and sprinkle all of the spices into the pot. Stir the pot to distribute spices well and throughout the ingredients.
2. Pour the broth into the pot, cover and under medium low heat simmer until the vegetables are soft and the beef is tender. If needed you can add more water depending on how watery or how much broth you prefer the stew to have.
Serve: The stew can be enjoyed on it’s own as a filling lunch or a light dinner. It can also be served with crusty bread or steamed rice on the side.
As you can see the Eurasian flavor comes in from the Turkish Baharat that was the foundation of the stew flavor. The Indian comes from the cumin and the turmeric. The central European comes from the leeks and potatoes so commonly used in local cuisine. The Hungarian comes from the paprika that can be used and from the sweet Hungarian red peppers used in the stew. They are called Kapia and are also very common in other Central European countries. The photo below is an orange Kapia,I didn’t have any red Kapia lefotver to shoot, but they look the same.
Have any of you ever used Baharat blend? and If so which variety,I’m curious if the Tunisian version with the rose petals taste like flowers? (By the way this was one of the recipes included in the Spicie Foodie 2011 Calendar. You can see it on the sidebar.)