food for thought

by michelle

piquant beef stew + pilaf + zucchini with yoghurt

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For this delectable meal I delved into PLEASE TO THE TABLE – THE RUSSIAN COOKBOOK by Anya von Bremzen and John Welchman. In Georgia this beef stew is cooked with sour plums but tamarind concentrate (available in Asian stores) makes a good substitute.


I used beef shin on the bone for this stew but any stewing beef would be acceptable. In a heavy pot or pressure cooker heat some olive oil over medium heat then add 900g (2 lbs) of beef and 3 large diced onions. The meat will not brown but will release a lot of liquid. Meanwhile heat 1 cup of beef stock and add 3 teaspoons of tamarind concentrate and 3 tablespoons of tomato paste. Mix well then add this to the beef together with 1 teaspoon of paprika, ¼ of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon of ground coriander, ½ a teaspoon of ground fenugreek and 1½ teaspoons of dried tarragon. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste then cover and cook until the beef is tender (1½ hours or 30 minutes in a pressure cooker). If the liquid reduces too much add stock a little at a time. When the beef is tender add 3 crushed cloves of garlic, ⅓ of a cup of walnut pieces and 4 tablespoons of freshly chopped coriander (cilantro). Adjust the seasoning, adding a little sugar if necessary and simmer for another 15 minutes.

I served my stew with this pilaf which comes from either Azerbaijan or Armenia, both close to Georgia.

pilafMelt 50g (1¾ oz) of butter in a heavy pot. Add a cup of grated carrots and cook over medium heat for a few minutes. Add ⅓ of a cup of slivered almonds, the grated zest of 2 oranges, ⅓ of a cup of golden raisins and ¼ of a teaspoon of ground turmeric. Add 1½ cups of long grain rice and cook, stirring until the rice is well coated with butter. Now pour in 3 cups of boiling chicken stock and season with a little salt. Cover and simmer over very low heat for 15-20 minutes then let it stand for 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork.

Borani is a common vegetable preparation in the Caucasus which uses yoghurt. Here is a zucchini version.


Melt some butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add 1 sliced onion and 2 sliced cloves of garlic and cook until the onion is translucent. Add 4 sliced zucchinis and cook until just soft. Remove from the heat and stir in ½ a cup of yoghurt and salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Return to a very low heat and cook until the yoghurt is heated through.




Written by michelle picker

August 3, 2014 at 5:27 am

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