Ottolenghi’s Beef, Beetroot and Habanero Stew is an absolute winter warmer, abundant in taste. Some winters it can feel like you’ve made every soup and stew under the sun, but this one promises to be something new. Taking an ideal yet unexpected pairing like beef and beetroot, Ottolenghi turns up the heat and adds some depth with the addition of habanero.
1kg boneless beef shin, cut into roughly 6cm square chunks
60ml olive oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
4 shallots, peeled and cut into 0.5cm-thick slices
3 bay leaves
3-4 oranges – shave the peel of 1 into four wide strips, then juice them all to get 400ml
500g beetroot, peeled and cut into 4cm chunks
500ml beef stock
1 litre water
1½ tbsp tomato paste
½ dried habanero chilli
1½ tsp ground cumin
1½ tsp ground coriander
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
160g soured cream
1 tbsp chopped coriander (optional)
1 lime, quartered
Season the beef with a teaspoon of salt. On a medium-high flame, heat half the oil in a 28cm diameter, heavy-based saucepan with a lid.
Brown the beef in two or three batches, spacing the pieces are well apart, for seven minutes, turning regularly to colour on all sides. then remove meat from the pan.
Leave juices in the pan and add the two tablespoons of oil, the garlic, shallots, bay leaves, orange peel and half a teaspoon of salt.
Saute for about four minutes, stirring from time to time, until the onions are soft and golden, then add the beetroot and fry for another four minutes, stirring occasionally, before returning the beef to the pan.
Pour over the beef stock, orange juice and water, and add the tomato paste, habanero and ground spices. Bring to a boil, turn heat to medium, cover and cook for two to two and a half hours, until the meat is very soft and starting to fall apart and the sauce is nice and thick. (If you’re using a smaller pot, you may need to reduce the sauce further to get the right consistency: you’re looking for about 350ml of thick sauce at the end.)
Serve on rice and top with a spoonful of soured cream, a sprinkle of coriander, if using, and a wedge of lime for squeezing over on the side.