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Mains, Soups

Beef stew with chayotes

Beef stew with chayotes
Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

Like many frequent cooks, I think of menus by season. Like most frazzled moms, I think of simplicity. And so in our home, it is the season of the stew. True, Southern California winters are so mild as to be ... Read more

Total time: 3 hours | Serves 4 to 6
  • 1 1/2 pounds stewing beef, cut into large chunks
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped, plus 1/2 cup minced onion, divided
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 large beef bones (any kind will do)
  • 2 to 3 beef bouillon cubes
  • 3 carrots, cut in rounds
  • 2 chayote squashes, peeled, seeded and cut into large pieces
  • 3 zucchini, washed and cut into large pieces
  • 4 ears of corn (fresh or frozen), cut into rounds
  • 1/2 cup green beans
  • 2 habanero chiles, minced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, minced
  • 2 radishes, minced

Step 1In a large bowl, toss the beef with 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper, or to taste.

Step 2In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil until hot. Add the beef (just enough that it fits in a single layer -- this may need to be done in batches) and sear until browned on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the coarsely chopped onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is softened and lightly colored, about 6 minutes. Add the brandy and continue to cook, scraping any flavorings from the bottom of the pan.

Step 3Stir in the water and beef bones and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the bouillon cubes. Loosely cover the pot and gently simmer for 1 hour.

Step 4Stir in the carrots, chayote, zucchini, corn and green beans, and continue to cook until the beef is fork tender, about 1 more hour. The vegetables will be extremely soft.

Step 5Taste the stew again, and adjust the seasonings, then ladle the stew into a large soup bowl for serving. Place the minced onion, habanero, cilantro and radishes in small bowls alongside the stew for serving.


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