Wine Braised Beef Stew with Dates and Chile

 

This recipe is inspired by three dishes: The Silver Palate’s Chicken Marbella, Galbijjim (Korean Braised Beef Short Ribs) which a friend brought to share at our Thanksgiving celebration, and the lemon zest flecked dates in Amanda Hesser’s Yogurt with Toasted Quinoa, Dates and Almonds. Chicken Marbella is my picky son’s favorite celebratory dish, even though he does not eat the prunes. I thought dates could fill a similar sweet-savory role and decided to pair them with beef, as in Galbijjim. I love the combination of lemon zest with dates, which I discovered in Amanda Hesser’s recipe (after a dish she had at Sitka & Spruce in Seattle). I use wine here, but you can also use beer, which results in a lighter dish. If you want to go the beer route, I recommend a Belgian ale. You can put this together leisurely on Friday night and enjoy it on Sunday for supper. Or, to speed up the process, you can start Saturday early morning and let it sit all day in the fridge, braise in the evening, let it cool, refrigerate Saturday night, finish and enjoy Sunday evening.

What you will need

1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

9 whole Medjool Dates, seed and hard stem cap removed

1 teaspoon Korean chile flakes (gochugaru) can substitute crushed red pepper (note: since gochugaru flakes are finer and sweeter than crushed red pepper, you can start with ½ t crushed red pepper, if desired)

1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seed

2 whole black cardamom pods

salt

4 garlic cloves, peeled

4 roots plus 1 inch of stem from organic cilantro (if not organic, use enough 1-inch pieces of stem to roughly equal 2 T)

1 1/2 tablespoons gluten-free tamari (can substitute soy sauce)

1 tablespoon Korean chile paste (gochu-jang)

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil

2 pounds beef for braising, such as bottom round or chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes (trimmed if using chuck)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

salt

3 cups medium bodied, fruity, red wine that you like to drink - I used an Argentinean Malbec

water, as needed

1 pound new or baby yellow potatoes, halved if using baby potatoes, cut into inch chunks (can substitute Yukon gold)

1/2 pound daikon, hakurei turnip, scarlet Ohno turnip, pink radish or a mixture, cut into inch chunks

6 scallions, white and light green parts, cut into 1-inch lengths and sliced lengthwise

1 Meyer lemon, organic if possible (can substitute organic Eureka lemon)

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