I’m always looking for delicious, hearty meals to make when the weather cools down — the kind of meals that are so satisfying and memorable you can’t wait to make them again and again. I had received some delicious pomegranate drinking vinegar from a company called Pok Pok Som, and couldn’t wait to use it in this braised beef recipe. This dish embodies that sweet and sour flavor we all love so much and reduces down to a thick, rich stew. It’s so versatile that it can be slow cooked in a pot on the back burner of your stove, or in one of those electric slow cookers throughout the day.
To get the recipe started, I followed the same basic principles that I use to make my beef bourguignon recipe, and cooked the meat ahead of time, but the braising liquid was a little different with the addition of the pomegranate juice and vinegar.
I chose to serve it over lightly boiled (or steamed potatoes), delicately tossed with some really good butter — something simple that allowed the tender, braised beef and that delicious sauce to really shine.
The truth is, we couldn’t stop eating it. The meat was perfect and the accompanying sauce was rich, fragrant and slightly fruity. The buttered potatoes were a perfect accompaniment and when I make it again, I’m not going to change a thing.
Pomegranate Vinegar Braised Beef
1.5 lb beef, cut into cubes
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pomegranate vinegar
1 cup beef stock (or 1 cube beef bouillon & 1 cup1 water)
1 cup pomegranate juice
2 large carrots, peeled & cut in small dice
2 large celery, small dice
1 small onion, sliced
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 heaping tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup flour
1 large or 2 small bay leaves
2 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
S & P (start with 1/4 teaspoon of each)
2 large potatoes, cubed
Salt for water (about 1-2 teaspoons)
1/2 stick butter
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
You will need a medium size stock pot for the entire cooing process. Everything will be cooked separately, and then all added together back to the pot with the liquid to simmer until the liquid has reduced and the meat is tender.
Prepare your meat, by rinsing it and cutting it into cubes. Also clean all of the vegetables and set them aside. Place the flour on a large plate and add the onion powder, garlic powder and S&P. Mix it well into the flour. Toss all of the meat cubes into the flour, then set aside. Place 1/4 cup of oil into the pot and place it over moderate heat. I don’t like to use too much oil, but when you are sauteing the meat, you really don’t want to skimp on this. Add the flour dusted cubes of meat into the stock pot. Don’t add them all at the same time, but rather in 2 or three batches until all of the meat has developed a nice crust all around. When they are ready, remove them to a large plate and set them aside.
You may not need any additional oil, but if you do, add a little more oil to the pot, then add in all of the vegetables (onions, celery, carrots, mushrooms). Saute everything together until they are caramelized, then add all of the liquid (vinegar, juice, stock), tomato paste and brown sugar. Toss in the bay leaves and allow the liquid to come up to a small boil, then reduce your temperature to the lowest setting on your stove top. Cover with the lid and allow this to reduce and thicken, about 1 hour. Every 10 or 15 minutes, make sure to use a wooden spook and stir the contents of the pot, making sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot and burns.
As the stew cooks, you can begin to cook your potatoes. Peel and dice your potatoes (large dice) and place them in a steamer over some boiling water or place them directly into boiling, salted water. If the water is boiling too rapidly, the potatoes will fall apart For the same reason, don’t stir them or move them around in the pot too much. Simmer on low heat until the potatoes are fork tender. Strain the potatoes in a colander, then add the potatoes back into the pot. Pour over the melted butter, add the dried parsley, adjust for S&P and toss gently.