When puddles frost on the streets and you scurry into the house escaping winter’s wrath, there’s nothing better than a warm bowl of beef stew with white rice and tostones. Even in the unforgiving summer heat, I love to cuddle up with a bowl of stew in my reading nook. As you can gather, I love stews and beef stew is my favorite. It’s the definition of comfort food and what it means to feel at home.
I love this dish in particular because it’s a dish that crosses national and ethnic boundaries. There’s a version of it in each culture and in each home. It’s a dish that you can easily make your own and a dish that can serve as your reprieve on a tough day. The longer it sits and stews, the better it tastes. You can add all the veggies and seasonings that you like and still end up with a masterpiece.
My Beef Stew recipe has evolved over the years and it changes every so often as I become inspired by other foods that I eat. Growing up, beef stew was a simple meat, potatoes, and carrots dish. But while I was in college at Syracuse, I was exposed to a world of fall harvests, fairs, and festivals. I learned just how delicious fresh sweet potatoes were and how there was more to a sweet potato than candied yams during Thanksgiving. It was then that I began experimenting with my beef stew recipes and adding traditional fall harvest veggies.
My Beef Stew recipe changed again when my best friend and roommate had a really bad day. I offered to make her her favorite dish and she requested, Spicy Beef Stew because it reminded her of her Nigerian Auntie Stew Beef. Now while, Stew Beef and Beef Stew are two very different dishes, I went with what I knew and remixed my Beef Stew recipe to have a kick. Alas, my Spicy Beef Stew recipe was born and I’ve been rocking with it for almost 10 years.
In the end, this recipe was born and raised in Queens, NY, came of age in Syracuse, emerged from the ashes in DC, and finally found its way home in Long Island where it’s been blossoming for the last couple of years. There are many more chapters left to this recipes as I’m sure it will continue to evolve as I evolve as a chef and cook. Nonetheless, I’m happy to share one of my most personal comfort foods recipes in my arsenal. There adobo, ground oregano, sweet potato, and hot peppers. It’s a lethal melange with sweet rewards.
If you’d like to see a step-by-step cooking demo, feel free to watch: How to Make Spicy Beef Stew | Carne Guisada Picante
Spicy Beef Stew is a dish that will triple in deliciousness if you eat it the next day. It’s tempting to eat it right away, but if you can wait then you won’t be disappoint. If can’t, no worries just know that your leftovers will be the story of legends! I personally love making this dish on a Sunday night and packing it for lunch for work for 2-3 days. I get so giddy that sometimes I can’t even wait until my lunch break to eat it.
Hope you enjoy! Buen Provecho!
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- 2lbs stew beef
- 1 tbs onion powder
- 1 tbs garlic powder
- 1 tbs sazon
- 1 tbs adobo
- 2 tbs lite sodium soy sauce
- ½ tbs sopita
- 1 tsp oregano
- ⅛ tsp cumin
- ½ tbs red pepper flakes or to taste
- 3 tbs tomato paste
- 1-2 tsp light brown sugar *optional
- 3-4 cups water
- 1 large sweet potato
- 2 small potatoes
- 2 carrots
- Olive Oil
- Season your beef with the onion powder, adobo, garlic powder, sazon, soy sauce, sopita, organo, and some olive oil
- Mix together and marinate overnight for 1-2 days or at least an hour if you’re in a rush. The longer this dish marinates, the better
- Heat up pot on a medium flame with olive oil
- Then add beef making sure to brown each of the sides
- Once the beef is browned on each side, add 3-4 cups of water. You want the water to cover the beef completely
- Cover the pot and let that boil for 1- 1 ½ hours until the beef is tender. Be sure to check on the beef from time to time. If the water has dried out before the beef is tender, then feel free to add more water
- Once the beef is tender, cut up potatoes and carrots. Make sure to cut the potatoes roughly the same size so that they cook evenly
- Now add the regular potatoes and the carrots. Stir and add water if necessary. You want the work to cover the potatoes and beef
- Let the beef + potatoes simmer for 10 minutes then add sweet potatoes and stir. We add the sweet potatoes second because they cook faster than regular potatoes. If you over cook sweet potatoes, they’ll dissolve into your stew, which will still make it taste it great
- After about 5-7 minutes, add the hot pepper flakes and stir again
- Let that boil for another 5 minutes
- Now add the tomato paste and sugar and stir again
- Let the stew boil until it reaches your desired thickness. Note-- the longer it boils, the thicker it becomes. The stew will also thicken once the dish cools.
The longer this dish marinates, the better that it will taste. It's best to brown the meat on medium to flame in order to lock in flavor & color. In the end, the best way to have this dish is with white rice, tostones, or even some delicious bread. This dish will taste infinitely better the next day once the flavors have had a chance to set.