Succulent peppers, sweet or hot, are so much a part of Mediterranean cooking that it’s interesting to recall they are indigenous to North America and didn’t cross the Atlantic until Columbus brought them to Spain. Here they combine with cumin, olives and tomatoes to transform humble stewing beef into an Epicurean delight.
- ¼ cup (50 ml) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp (5 ml) dried thyme leaves, crumbled
- 1 tsp (5 ml) grated lemon zest, optional
- ½ tsp (2 ml) salt
- ½ tsp (2 ml) cracked black peppercorns
- 2 lbs (1 kg) trimmed stewing beef, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
- 2 tbsp (25 ml) olive oil, divided
- 2 onions, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) cumin seeds, toasted (see Notes)
- 1 cup (250 ml) beef stock
- ½ cup (125 ml) dry red wine
- 1 can (14 oz/398 ml) diced tomatoes, including juice
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 roasted red bell peppers, thinly sliced, then cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
- ½ cup (125 ml) sliced pitted green olives
- ½ cup (125 ml) finely chopped parsley
Works in slow cookers from 3½ to 6 quarts
1. In a resealable plastic bag, combine flour, thyme, lemon zest, if using, salt and peppercorns. Add beef and toss until evenly coated. Set aside, shaking any excess flour from beef and reserving.
2. In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp (15 ml) of the oil over medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Add beef, in batches, and cook, stirring, adding more oil as necessary, until browned, about 4 minutes per batch. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware.
3. Reduce heat to medium. Add onions and garlic to pan and cook, stirring, until onions are softened, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with toasted cumin and flour mixture and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add beef stock, wine, tomatoes with juice and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add to slow cooker and stir well.
4. Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 4 hours, until mixture is bubbly and beef is tender. Stir in roasted peppers, olives and parsley. Cover and cook on High for 15 minutes, until peppers are heated through. Discard bay leaves.