Daring Cooks Challenge: Beef Braised in Rooibos Tea with Sweet Potatoes
During my last year of school I was so busy with final projects and homework and just trying to make school and work not make me crazy that I had to give up some fun stuff like a super cool cooking club called "The Daring Bakers". If you've never heard of them, google it. They are awesome and being in the club is so much fun. Well, as you can see I didn't bake anything to share with you today, because now that I have the time to get back into some fun cooking projects, I decided rather than join back up with The Daring Bakers, I decided to join another part of the club called "The Daring Cooks". Since I'm very much a savory person and barely ever bake (not that there's anything WRONG with that...), I thought it was a perfect fit.
So basically how this club works is every month we are given a secret challenge. It's always a fairly unique and challenging recipe and the "secret" part makes it fun :-) Then we have all month to make it and document it and we all wait until the post date given to post our completed challenges on our blog. So every month around this time I'll be bringing you a different Daring Cooks creation and then you can jump around to the other blogs that participated and see their creations too.
To check out the other Daring Cooks, the blogroll is HERE.
This month's challenge was "cooking with tea", which I'm pretty sure I've never done. In this dish you basically use tea in place of wine and beef broth to braise your beef. I thought the final product tasted good. The beef was very tender and pulled apart easily with no need for a knife and the sweet potatoes were tangy and sweet. Mark wasn't as excited about this dish. He said he kept wanting it to be beef bourguignon but instead he was tasting tea. I kind of tasted the tea, but not as much as he did and it may either be his super-human sense of smell that I believe he was born with, or the fact that I'm still getting over a cold and can only half-smell things. So I'm sure that is hindering my ability to pick out the flavors he is.
So if you're interest is peaked, I say make this. I did like it, so maybe you will too. If nothing else, it was cool to see how tea can be incorporated into a savory dish like this. After the jump, I'll show you how this is made!
For this recipe, we used short ribs. The recipe calls for beef brisket or stewing beef. The short ribs were perfect for this recipe. So, step one is to season the meat with salt and pepper on both sides, then roll it around in flour. In a dutch oven, heat some olive oil over medium-high heat, then sear the meat on all sides forming a beautiful brown crust all over. Brown crust = flavor.
By the way, this dutch oven is one of our newest toys in our kitchen. It looks like a Le Creuset... but it's not. It's a Kirkland brand enameled cast iron dutch oven and it was also made in France. And the best part... we got it at Costco for $69.99! This was my first time using it and it did great. I love it! Get one for yourself HERE.
Next, remove the meat from the pot and add a little more olive oil. Add your chopped onions and celery and saute on medium-low for about 10 minutes with the lid on.
In the meantime, steep the rooibos tea in a quart of boiling water for four minutes. You can use tea bags or loose tea like I did and just strain out the tea leaves after four minutes. It smelled so good :-)
After the onions and celery have cooked for 10 minutes, add a heaping tablespoon of tomato paste and 3 cloves of minced garlic. Stir and cook for a few more minutes.
Next, pour in the tea along with the red wine vinegar, orange peel, cinnamon sticks, and sliced fresh ginger. Return the meat back to the pot, cover and simmer for two hours on low.
After about an hour and a half, remove the lid and add the sweet potatoes to the pot. Season with salt and pepper, stir, and return the lid to the pot. Simmer for another 30 minutes.
Then, just garnish with some chopped fresh cilantro and that's it!
This recipe was time consuming, but not difficult at all. Plus, much of the time was just the meat braising in the liquid, so if you start this dish as soon as you get home from work, you could even make this during the week. I served this dish with a side of roasted Brussels sprouts. I found it to be a very comforting dish, but I won't be making it again unless I want to eat it myself, per Mark :-)
Have a great Monday everyone and I'll see ya soon! Lots of fun projects and cookbook reviews coming up.