The components of this stew all fit together so delicately and the resulting dish is both light and fruity due to the chilies, apricot and coconut and at the same time rich and satisfying. Be patient with this dish. Cooking the onions slowly is important, and allowing the stew to cook long enough will allow it to come together better. If you need to cook it longer, just leave it on the stove, tasting here and there with the heat as low as it goes. This is the kind of meal that tastes better the next day, so save leftovers or make a double batch.
Apricot, Ancho Chile + Japanese Sweet Potato Beef Stew
1 lb grass-fed stew meat – beef room temperature, seasoned w/ salt +pepper
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped thin and small
2 inches fresh peeled ginger, chopped
1 inch fresh peeled turmeric, chopped
2 dried ancho chilies, diced
1 japanese sweet potato, diced
3 apricots, halved, then quartered
Handful of parlsey, chopped + some reserved for topping
1/2 can coconut milk
2 1/2 cups water
Heat a dutch oven over medium high heat. Pour in some olive oil, and place the stew meat in the skillet to sear. Flip after a minute or two, so that both sides are browned. Remove the meat from the pan and place in a bowl.
Turn down the heat to low and add the onions to the dutch oven, using a spatula to get the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook the onions at low heat for a while, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and being careful not to brown. Then add the carrots, garlic, chilies, ginger and turmeric. Season with salt + pepper and add oil if needed. Cook on low for another 10 minutes or so.
Add the beef back to the dutch oven, stirring to combine. Turn up the heat to high and pour in the water. Bring to a soft boil, then turn the heat down to low.
Add the sweet potato and coconut milk. Taste and add more salt + pepper as needed. Cover the dutch over with a tight fitting lid and allow the stew to simmer for about an hour and a half.
Add the apricots and parsley, cover for another 30-60 minutes.
The meat should be tender and easy to cut when the stew is ready to eat. The braise liquid should also be considerably cooked down. Taste again and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve in a bowl with some fresh parsley on top.