Monday, February 9, 2009

Papaya Beef Stew

Fusion Cuisine Lives! Here is another experiment with Costa Rican foods, used to modify an old standard. (and modified again, February 2010)

Papaya Beef Stew

Marinade (let stand for at least 1 hr, preferably all afternoon):
1 small papaya, seeded, peeled, and cubed
3/4 kg stew beef, cubed very small - about 3/4 inch per side (trociticos)
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped fine (picado)
1 whole Orange, diced (include the peel but not the seeds)
1/4 cup red wine

I marinade in a crock pot (not turned on) for several hours, then put the pot in the fridge overnight. After lunch the next day, I plug in the crock pot, and let it go for several hours. About an hour before dinner, I dump the contents into a large pot and add all the rest of the ingredients. This seems to have the best effect for tender beef, and it is a *lot* easier.

Add, then simmer for 1 hr:
3/4 cup red wine
1/2 cup of barley
2 sliced/diced onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 joint ginger (~ 1 inch), minced or grated
black pepper
ground cloves
1/2 Tbs cocoa powder
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 costilla criolla packet
bay leaf
other herbs to taste

2 hands full chopped celery (w/ leaves)
3 large carrots, sliced
4 small potatoes, diced
3 medium-large camotes, diced
enough water to cover

serve w/ good bread

- stewmeat in Costa Rica is "carne para estofar" and the cut is "posta cuarta de res"
- papaya has an enzyme that tenderizes meat (as does pineapple)
- I marinated the meat for several hours. I would consider mashing the papaya a bit next time.
- Before this latest modification, I cooked the stew for a total of 1 1/2 hours. It wasn't enough time for the meat to get tender.
- The stew got better each day - we had leftovers for several days. The extra sitting time let the flavors mix and the meat get more tender. I added water each time to the stew as I reheated it.
- if necessary, you can cook the potatoes and camotes in a separate pot of salted water, drain and add to the stew later (I do this if I don't have enough room left to use just one pot).
- the cocoa doesn't make the stew taste like chocolate; it just enriches the flavor - if you don't know it's in there, you won't know what it is that makes that "strange, good" flavor. One time, I accidentally put in 3 times the amount - it was still ok, but you definitely could taste the cocoa (so, too much).

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