Category Archives: Stews

Spicing it up with Vindaloo Beef Curry

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Vindaloo Beef Curry
Vindaloo Beef Curry

Vindaloo Curry is a spicy Indian curry made with a variety of spices, vinegar, coconut milk and crushed tomatoes. Its origins come from the Goa region of India, however, the Vindaloo name is derived from a Portugese dish Carne de Vinha d’Ahlos which was typically made with pork, vinegar and chiles.

I used a Vindaloo spice blend from Penzey’s Spices to avoid mixing up 100 spices of my own – it’s a lovely blend of coriander, garlic, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, brown mustard, red pepper, jalapeno, cardamom, turmeric, Tellicherry black pepper and cloves, giving the curry a sweet and spicy flavor. I took the liberty to add a little bit more garlic powder, ginger, cayenne, cinnamon and cumin to give it a little more kick and some fresh chopped cilantro to give it a bright flavor.

It sounds super spicy, but the vinegar, coconut milk and pureed tomatoes soften the spices up into a creamy, tangy, delicious sauce – you can also make Vindaloo Lamb, Shrimp, Chicken or Pork – just substitute the meat of your choice. Great with Basmati rice (I used Brown Basmati) and/or Naan Bread for serving. If you want to make the curry ahead of time, it can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 3 days.


1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 pounds lean beef steak, trimmed and cubed
1 1/2 tablespoons Vindaloo curry powder (Penzey’s)
1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Kosher Salt
1 tsp Black Tellicherry peppercorns
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 1/4 cups low-sodium beef stock
1 (14 ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
1 (14 ounce) can pureed tomatoes
Brown Basmati rice, steamed for serving
Cilantro, chopped for garnish


In a large pot, par boil potatoes for about 3-5 minutes until slightly softened. Heat oil in a large skillet and saute the beef over medium-high for about 5 minutes until slightly browned.

Indian Vindaloo Spices
Indian Vindaloo Spices

Mix the Vindaloo curry powder with a few tablespoons of water to make a paste. Add the curry paste to the beef along with the other spices, salt and peppercorns; stir together and cook for about 3 more minutes.

Seasoned Beef & Potatoes
Seasoned Beef & Potatoes

Add the parboiled potatoes, vinegar, beef broth, coconut milk and pureed tomatoes to the beef and potatoes; stir all ingredients together and bring to a boil.

Simmering Vindaloo Curry
Simmering Vindaloo Curry

Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer the curry until the potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Crush some of the potatoes with the back of a spoon into the curry sauce to thicken it slightly.

Vindaloo Beef
Vindaloo Beef Curry

Serve with a side of white or brown cooked basmati rice and chopped cilantro for garnish. Warm toasted naan bread is also delicious with the curry. enjoy!

Serves 4-6.

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Bistro-Style Beef Stew w/ Red Wine, Smoked Paprika and Orange Zest

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Beef Stew with Red Wine
Bistro-Style Beef Stew with Red Wine, Smoked Paprika and Orange Zest

On a recent excursion to Williams-Sonoma, I discovered some lovely braising bases that piqued my interest. I wanted to make a hearty beef stew and thought the Beef Stew Braising base would be a perfect starter for my masterpiece. This hearty blend of ripe tomatoes, fire-roasted red peppers and premium dark beer has a rich, complex flavor and is a great base for the beef stew with your own additions. I simply added some crispy bacon, sauteed shallots and garlic, chunks of potato, carrots and beef. I then added some additional flavor by stirring in some hearty red wine, a sprinkle of orange zest and smoked paprika, along with some herbes de provence and fresh thyme.

The orange zest gives the stew a hint of bright flavor, and goes well with the smoky paprika, red wine and shallots. I also added a sprinkling of Awake-a-Steak seasoning – a robust blend of gourmet spices and fresh roasted coffee. The result? A rich, hearty, deliciously slow-cooked pot of goodness – perfect for a chilly Winter day. Just let all the ingredients braise in the pot in the oven to release the savory layers of flavor into a thick beefy stew that is sure to warm your toes. Serve the stew in large soup bowls along with crusty French bread to mop up the sauce, complemented by a big glass of red wine (Cotes du Rhone or Cotes de Provence are a perfect match and also used in the stew). Now this is what I call comfort food – Enjoy!


1 – 4 lb boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 1 1/2-2 inch pieces
3 tbsp vegetable oil or olive oil
5-6 slices thick-cut hickory smoked bacon
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
4 large shallots, quartered
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into large chunks
4 large carrots, cut into 1-2 inch chunks
1 8.5 oz jar Williams-Sonoma Beef Stew Braising Base
1 cup red wine (Cotes du Rhone)
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp tomato paste
4-6 strips of orange zest
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tbsp Awake-a-Steak Seasoning (Instant Gourmet)
2 tsp herbes de Provence
1-2 tbsp dried fines herbes (or fresh chopped chervil, tarragon, parsley and chives), for garnish
5-6 springs fresh thyme, for garnish


Place a rack in the lower position of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Preheat a large saute pan and get a Dutch oven prepared to cook the stew.

Seasoned Beef

Carve the roast into 1 1/2-2 inch chunks, trimming any large, visible pieces of fat. Place the beef chunks in a large baking sheet lined with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.

Carrots, Veggies and Spices

Peel and cut the potatoes and carrots into  1 1/2 to 2 inch chunks.

Shallots, Garlic and Orange Peel

Peel and quarter the shallots and chop the garlic cloves. Shave 4-6 strips of orange peel with a peeler, slice into finer strips if desired.


Fry the bacon slices until crisp and drain on paper towels, set aside until cooled. Chop or crumble into 1/2 inch pieces.

Sauteing Shallots and Garlic

In the same saute pan, saute the shallots in 2 tbsp bacon drippings over medium-high heat until they begin to soften, about 1 minute. Add the minced garlic along with some salt and pepper, and saute for 1 minute. With a slotted spoon, removed shallots and garlic and set aside with the bacon.

Sauteing Beef

Add 1 tbsp of oil to the pan and saute the beef in a single layer in batches, being careful not to crowd or overcook, approximately 10 minutes per batch, until beef is browned on all sides. Add additional oil as necessary in between batches. When all beef is sauteed, transfer to a large Dutch oven.

Mixed Ingredients

Add the bacon, shallots and garlic, orange zest, herbs and spices to the Dutch oven with the beef.

All in Pot

Add the carrots and potatoes and stir together.


Add the tomato paste, red wine, water and Beef Stew Braising Base to the pot and stir all ingredients together and bring to a simmer.

Cover the pot tightly with aluminum foil and place the lid on top. Transfer to the oven and bake until beef is fork-tender for about 3 hours.

Stir Stew

Stir the stew after about an hour, and then again after 2 hours, recovering the pot with the aluminum foil and lid.

Stew is Done!

Check the stew for desired consistency: if the stew is too thick, add an additional 1/4 cup of water to the last 15 minutes of cooking. If the stew seems too thin, make a slurry of flour and water and whisk into the stew for thickening. Season the finished stew with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Bistro-Style Beef Stew

Garnish with a sprinkle of fines herbes and sprigs of thyme. Enjoy with a loaf of crusty French bread and a big glass of hearty red wine (Cotes du Rhone). Fantastique!

Serves 8.

Other Beef Stew Recipes you may enjoy:

Paula Deen’s Old-Time Beef Stew

Pioneer Woman’s Beef Stew with Beer and Paprika

Epicurious Irish Beef Stew

Jacques Pepin Beef Stew in Red Wine Sauce

Martha Stewart Beef Stew


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Big Pot ‘o Goodness: Pasta Fagioli

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pasta fagioli soup

Cooking is one of my favorite things to do in the Winter – there’s something comforting about the delightful smells that warm up my apartment on a cold, dreary day.

Pasta Fagioli is an Italian soup made with herbs, beans, pasta, tomatoes, garlic and broth, topped off with some fresh basil, a drizzle of olive oil and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. And it’s easy to make too – just throw all the ingredients in a large soup pot and cook it slow and low for an hour or so. The end result is a big pot ‘o goodness to warm up your toes.

Big Pot ‘o Goodness: Pasta Fagioli

Yield: Serves 4-6


  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 pound pancetta, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, crushed
  • 2 cups chicken broth, low sodium
  • 1 spring rosemary
  • 2-3 springs fresh thyme
  • cheesecloth, for rosemary and thyme herb sachet
  • 2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 pound ditalini pasta (or any short-tube pasta)
  • Basil leaves, torn for garnish
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, for garnish
  • Extra olive oil, for drizzling


  1. Coat a large, wide pot with olive oil and add pancetta. Bring to a medium heat and cook the pancetta until it starts to crisp, 4-5 minutes.
  2. Toss in the onion and season with salt and red pepper; cook until the onion is soft and aromatic, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes more.
  3. Add tomatoes and chicken broth, rosemary and thyme sprigs (in cheesecloth sachet), season with salt and black pepper, and bring to a boil; then reduce to simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the herbs sachet and discard.
  4. Add the cannellini beans and chickpeas to the pot and cook for 20 minutes more.
  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta two-thirds of the way until it is still fairly hard in the center. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
  6. Add pasta and cooking water to the soup pot with the tomatoes and the beans and continue to cook until the pasta is done, another 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve with some torn basil leaves, grated Parmigiano cheese and drizzle with some extra olive oil for garnish.


Recipe adapted from Anne Burrell, Cook Like a Rock Star

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