As a working mother, one of my goals is to provide my family with natural and balanced meals, mostly Colombian food. This is a rule I’ve broken sometimes, serving them canned foods, burgers and pizza, which take me out of trouble those days when my job demands higher priority than my housework.
Unfortunately some of the most delicious Colombian dishes can take several hours to be ready, this fact does not help me much to meet that goal. Dealing with my job and housework was a challenge that seemed too hard at the beginning, but after some time and with a bit of creativity in order to optimize the cooking processes, it has become increasingly easy. I understand that lack of time is no reason to sacrifice the quality of meals and an example of this is the recipe that I will present below:
The cooking process for this preparation has to be done in a covered pot on low heat, in order to preserve the food juices and to prevent complete evaporation of the liquid, thereby forming a sauce which convey and mix all the flavors. In my experience, the cooking time and quality of the ingredients accompanying the meat, are this recipe’s key of success.
What I want when I cook the beef stew is to integrate all the necessary ingredients for a balanced meal in one dish, saving time in the process , so the meat (protein), potatoes and yucca (carbohydrates), peas, beans and carrots (vegetables) , are the main contents of the recipe, while tomatoes, onions, garlic, soy sauce and beef broth add the necessary seasonings and spices.
Ingredients (4 servings):
4 cups water (one liter)
4 servings of meat
8 small potatoes
4 servings of yucca
½ cup shelled green peas
½ cup diced green beans
½ cup diced carrots
3 sticks of Welsh onion (or 1 white onion)
3 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 beef broth
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
Other spices as desired (oregano, bay leaf, thyme, etc..)
- Place the oil and the 4 servings of meat in a pan or a pressure cooker . Add spices (just a pinch of each) and soy sauce, for flavour. Saute for 5 minutes with garlic, tomatoes, finely chopped onion and paprika.
- Add the green peas, green beans, carrots and water. Cover and let them cook until the vegetables soften slightly. It is not recommended that they are fully cooked, as they will remain longer on fire with the rest of ingredients and could be dissolved.
- Stir in the potatoes and yucca ( peeled properly) with the other ingredients. Add a little more water if necessary, but without overdoing it, remember that it should be braised in sauce.Stir in the beef broth to the preparation, cover the pan and simmer over low heat stirring until potato and yucca are fully cooked, but be careful not to soften the ingredients too much.
Medellin families usually accompany the beef stew with rice, in my case, I prefer to go with a good portion of avocado or a lettuce and cucumber salad with vinaigrette, I don’t want to take large amounts of carbohydrates in just one meal. Whatever you want to serve it with, this beef stew is a delicious and balanced option for lunch or dinner, and if there is any leftovers, do not worry, in Medellin we have the belief that stew, like beans, taste better one day after preparation.
Using this same procedure, we can achieve a variety of different preparations, some of which are:
- Marinate the meat with wine, black sauce, vinegar, etc..
- Use thick portions of meat, minced meat or meatballs.
- Change beef for chicken, ribs, pork, fish or other.
- Replace the original vegetables for any other.
Most importantly, as I said, leave enough time to simmer and add the garnishes. Be encouraged to prepare and experiment with it. Estimated preparation time is 1 hour, so it is not too complicate, but you will be very satisfied with the presentation and taste of their food.