Alright let’s get back to some recipes. I know that’s the reason most of you read my blog. Last week I bought a giant package (3.5 lbs worth) of stew meat. Mostly because it was on sale, but also because fall always means the start of soup and stew season. The only problem is I’m not a fan of your typical stew. Carrots, beef broth, potatoes, onions etc. Eh.
So I took to google. Of course now, as I’m typing up this post, I can’t remember how I actually came up with the idea (no seriously, I just spend 20 minutes going through my internet history…) but I think it went something like this:
Google: “Beef Stew.” Read through 100 recipes of the same boring traditional recipes. Google: “Crockpot Beef.” Read through 50 recipes and start to feel discouraged. See the word curry, get excited. Google: “Beef Curry.” Read through 50 recipes, say f#$% it, and throw a bunch of ingredients into the crockpot. I mean, that’s how everyone tries new recipes, right?
Coconut Beef Curry
- 3.5 lbs of Beef stew meat
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 1 can of diced tomatoes
- 1 can of coconut milk
- 3 tsp of red curry paste
- 2 tsp of ground ginger
- 3 tsp of thai seasoning
I first put all 3.5 lbs of beef into my crockpot. I decided not to brown it first. There is some debate on whether or not to brown meat before putting it into the crockpot. I could probably write a whole blog post about it. But the short version – Browning meat seals the juices in the meat and gives a ton of flavor. So why didn’t I brown? Because:
a) cooking meat in the crockpot basically means you’re cooking the meat in liquid. So there should be no fear of it drying out.
b) Anyone who has ever made the mistake of cooking stew meat on the stove (raises hand in shame) knows this is a tough cut of meat. Why? Because it has more connective tissue that needs to be broken down with cooking. However if you cook for too long, it can get chewy. So I decided to prevent accidental overcooking by skipping the browning.
Anyway, enough about that. After placing all of my meat in the crockpot, I added the thai seasonings and ground ginger. I then placed the chopped onion and red pepper on top.
Next, I poured the canned tomatoes right on top, including the juice. Next time, I might go with fresh tomatoes instead. One because it will cut down on the amount of liquid in this dish, but also because I’ve been reading a bit more lately on how dangerous canned tomatoes are (the acidity of the tomato eats the inside of the cans). Not sure how true that is.
To make sure that the curry paste would be evenly distributed, I mixed it with the coconut milk. You could also just do this straight in the can and save cleaning an extra bowl.
Dump the coconut milk/curry paste mixture right on top. Then I didn’t stir it per-say, but I pulled at the sides a bit to make sure the liquid made it’s way to the bottom of the crockpot. Put the lid on and set it on high for 5 hours.
I actually debated whether or not to cook it on low instead of high for fear of overcooking the meat. But it was late and there was no way I was staying up until 3am to turn my crockpot off.
The good news is I guessed right. The high heat wasn’t a problem at all. I was super impressed by how tender the meat came out. Literally melted as you ate it. There were just two problems with this recipe (OK not really problems but just things I didn’t count on).
1. I don’t have a lot of cooking experience with coconut milk. So when I put it in, I expected it to create a nice creamy consistency. Um no. Coconut milk when cooked turns to basically coconut oil. Not necessarily a bad thing, but you can see that this stew isn’t very thick at all.
2. This wasn’t spicy. At all. Maybe because I stuck to teaspoons but honestly I was expecting a kick and there wasn’t any. Isn’t Thai red curry paste supposed to be spicy? I’m so confused…
Ah well. If you try this one let me know. Like I said, the beef part was great but the recipe could definitely use some tweaking.