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Georgian Tart Beef Stew With Pickles Recipe

Ryan Thomas is a university graduate who enjoys cooking recipes from a wide variety of culinary traditions.

This tart beef stew with pickles comes from Georgia

This tart beef stew with pickles comes from Georgia

Recently, I was leafing through a cookbook about the cuisine of Georgia (the European country, not the U.S. state) called The Georgian Feast: The Vibrant Culture and Savory Food of the Republic of Georgia, by Darra Goldstein. In this book, I found a fascinating beef stew recipe—fascinating because it incorporates pickles.

Pickles in a beef stew? It certainly sounded different than the soups and stews I've made before. Perhaps Georgians like tart food.

I decided to give the recipe a try, and I can tell you it definitely works. The pickles, as well as the capers, give a wonderfully sour note that accompanies the tart balsamic vinegar. Rich and hearty tones come from the beef sautéed in onion, and the tomato provides a vibrantly fruity burst of umami.

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I made quite a few variations to the original recipe, the primary one being the inclusion of gnocchi pasta. The gnocchi balances the intense flavors found elsewhere in the stew, and it provides it a good base, as well.

While stew does take an hour in the oven to cook, the preparation is remarkably simple. It is great accompanied with bread.

As noted above, I adapted this recipe from The Georgian Feast: The Vibrant Culture and Savory Food of the Republic of Georgia, by Darra Goldstein.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds stew-quality beef (I used chuck roast), trimmed of fat
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 pickles
  • 1/3 cup capers
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cups white wine (or water, in a pinch)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (16-ounce) package gnocchi

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add in the beef which has had its fat cut off and which has been cut into 1-inch cubes, as well as seasoned with salt and pepper.
  2. Add in the flour, and brown the meat on all sides. Once it is brown, add in the onion, peeled and diced, and garlic, peeled and diced, and cook for a few minutes more. Deglaze with the white wine and then cook for 5 minutes over low heat.
  3. Add in the rest of the ingredients: pickles, capers, thyme, tomato paste, gnocchi, and balsamic vinegar.
  4. Place, uncovered, into an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook for 1 hour, then remove, allow to rest a few minutes before serving.

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