14 July 2011

Double Take: Beef with Spicy Cocoa Gravy

Beef and Pork with Spicy Cocoa Gravy

The way I’ve been cookng lately, you’d think I lived in the Southern hemisphere. But though we are now at the middle of July, it hasn’t quite gotten hot yet. Oh, it’s toasty here this week (if you consider temps in the mid 70s upper 60s to be toasty), but when I woke up on July 1, it was a mere 49°F/9°C. Thus, my oven is still in use and I’m willing to use my stove for lengthy periods of time. Roasting in the kitchen does not cause me to roast, so I’m taking advantage of the cooler than usual weather and using my oven and stove as much as I can.  

Of course, poor Tabitha is not enjoying such cool temperatures. Oops. But maybe it’s okay since she has air conditioning and I don’t?

When I first saw Beef with Spicy Cocoa Gravy over on Culinary in the Country, I was intrigued. It seems to be a mole meets beef stew recipe, without the intensity of making a mole from whole peppers and a zillion ingredients. I also had not used ancho chile powder before. It’s been a popular chile powder for a while now, so it seemed like a good way to try it. So when Bender was job hunting in the US back in March, I had Tabitha get some ancho chile powder to me through him. Of course, I opened the jar as soon as he brought it back to me and realized when I was making tacos last week that I wouldn’t have enough of the ancho for Beef with Spicy Cocoa Gravy if I used it! Needless to say, I love ancho chile powder. It is not hot at all and has a lovely fruity bouquet. Yum. I had really high hopes for this dish and ended up making several substitutions based on ingredient availability.

Look how pretty that Ancho Chile Powder is!

Beef and/or Pork with Spicy Cocoa Gravy
adapted from Culinary in the Country, originally from Cooking Light

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano or marjoram
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 pounds trimmed top round steak or pork shoulder, or a combo of the two, cut into 1" cubes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup salsa
14.5 ounce can diced spicy tomatoes
2 cups beef broth
1 teaspoon salt*
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Method:In a large bowl, whisk together cocoa, coriander, ancho powder, cumin, garlic, oregano, paprika and cinnamon. Add beef and toss to coat. Remove beef and set aside. Stir in flour to the remaining spices and return beef - toss well to evenly coat the pieces.

In a large Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add half of the beef mixture to pan and sauté until brown on all sides - about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove beef from pan and add remaining oil. Repeat browning with the remaining beef mixture - remove when browned.

If your spices are starting to burn, deglaze the Dutch oven with 1/4 cup of beef broth, scraping up the spices as you go. Add onions into the Dutch oven and cover, sweating the onions in the broth until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the cover and set aside. Pour in wine and tomatoes - cook 3 minutes. Mix in beef broth, salt* and black pepper. Add the browned beef back into the pan - cover, reduce heat and simmer until the beef is tender - about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Makes about 4 to 6 servings.

* Taste first! Beef broth can vary in saltiness, so salt to your taste!

My meat was damp when I rolled it in the spices, so it
picked up lots more spice that it normally would. 

I know I didn’t follow the original recipe exactly, but I think I stayed pretty true to the original intent. And it was fine. It wasn’t great. It wasn’t terrible. It just was. But when I cook something for 70 minutes, I kinda want it to be great.

On the beef v. pork issue. I used a combination because the store was out of beef one time when I had every intention of making beef stew so I had to sub pork instead. It was really good. And pork just seemed to fit this recipe in my mind a bit more than beef. To test the recipe and my theory, I got a combo of the two and the pork was MUCH BETTER! It just worked. To make it non-beef-eater friendly, you can sub the beef broth for vegetable broth with no problems.

I am very intrigued by the spice mixture and want to use it as a spicy rub for grilled chicken in the future. I’m currently out of coriander, so it will probably be a while before I get around to it. But I think it has potential.

Mostly-meh-but-I-think-the-spices-have-potential-as-a-rub: 1 vote
I’ll-go-make-myself-a-peanut-butter-sandwich-now: 1 vote

To see Tabitha's take on Beef with Spicy Cocoa Gravy, head on over to Double the Garlic!

I served mine with rice and fresh, steamed green beans,
but feel free to make it to your own taste!

1 comment:

Thank you for leaving a comment! Comments allow me to see what you like and and encourage me to write more!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...