Ok so I think I spoke to soon and got extremely excited about the prospect of spring, but those two weeks of unusual warm weather are gone. We’re back to cold days, a few sprinkles and a lot of wind this week. I even turned the heater back on (besides the space heater I keep next to my desk).
I’ve come to realize that as soon as the temperature drops, my kitchen habits tend to lean towards the warmer end of the activity spectrum. I either bake a lot or I’m at the stove, unusually longer than the usual. It is pretty much an excuse for me to be warm and to keep it that way.
Last year, I added another olive tree to the backyard and whatever olives we got, we picked, and M brined them. Without brining and the flesh of the olive can be quite bitter to taste but the salt cure helps to permeate the fruit making it very tasty. I like to eat olives straight out of the jar and that’s what we do eighty percent of the time or we end up cooking them. And if you haven’t tried them in hot stews during winter, this is a good recipe to start out with. It’s based on a family recipe and we typically never used olives but here it is magical!
Have an Olive Day sent me a couple of their olives to try out: the Hojiblanca (black olives), the Manzanilla stuffed with Pimiento and the Queen (big green olives). Because olives are brined they can add a great burst of flavor and brighten the flavor of a dish. But keep that in mind when cooking with olives, season minimally as you cook or season the food at the end so you can account for the salt in the cured fruit. In this beef stew that’s largely made up of warmer spices, the olives give a add a little surprise. I’ve used both green and black for a bit of visual appeal and you could use either. Serve it hot with a bit of toasted bread lightly buttered and smeared with a fresh garlic clove.
Olive and Beef Stew
Makes 4 to 6 servings
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, halved and cut into thin slices
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp red chili powder
3 bay leaves
1 ½ lbs beef stew meat (cut into ¼ -inch cubes)
2 cups whole white mushrooms
One 14-oz can Green olives, drained
One 14-oz can large Black olives, drained
1 lb fingerling potatoes
4 cups miso or beef broth
3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
½ tsp fine sea salt*
½ tsp white pepper
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley for garnish
Heat the oil in a medium-saucepan or heavy Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, sauté the onions until they start to brown about 8 to 10 minutes. Then add the garlic, garam masala, turmeric, chili, and bay leaves and cook with constant stirring for 1 minute. Then add the beef cubes and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes until the cubes start to brown. Add the mushrooms, olives and potatoes, broth and vinegar. Increase the heat to high and bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat, cover with a lid and cook for 1 hour until the beef and potatoes are tender. Add the salt and pepper, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve warm or hot and garnish with cilantro before serving.
* Because olives are brined in salt they will add a bit of saltiness to the dish, so I recommend tasting before you season the broth.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Have an Olive Day, however all opinions expressed are solely my own.