Corsican Beef Stew

This rich and colorful stew was our choice for a cozy Christmas dinner cooked in the corner of our hotel room in what my Grandmother would have described as a “one butt kitchen”. The horrible glass cutting board clanked with every swipe of the dull knife, but the beef and red peppers in a red wine braise resulted in an easy and elegant meal that brightened a cold winter day. Best finished in the oven but can be cooked entirely stove top. Serve with rice, potatoes or crusty bread.

Based on the recipe Corsican Beef Stew in The International Garlic Cookbook by Collins Publisher San Francisco.

2 lbs beef chuck, cut into 1 ¼ inch chunks and dredged in flour seasoned with salt and pepper
Oil for browning beef chunks and sautéing vegetables
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 medium red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1 ¼ inch squares
1 ½ cups dry red wine
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes (preferably Muir Glen)
½ t dried thyme
6 juniper berries, crushed (can substitute 1 T gin)
2 T chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed stew pot heat oil over a medium-high flame and brown the beef chunks in batches to prevent crowding. Remove the beef and set aside. Reduce heat to low and add more oil if necessary. Sauté the onions until soft and beginning to brown, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two. Stir in the bell pepper and cook for another 5 minutes. Pour in the wine, bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. Return the meat along with the tomatoes, thyme, juniper berries and parsley and return to a boil. Cover and place in the oven until meat is tender, about 1 and ¼ hours or simmer on the stove top for about the same amount of time.

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