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Braised Beef with Orange and FigsI’ve been reading this really interesting cookbook, ****************.   Actually, it’s less of a cookbook, though they have some wonderful recipes, and more of a reference work.  At least for me it is.  The authors are a chef and a specialist in scents.  What a combination, right?  I’ve always loved a little dried fruit added to something savory.  It works like a dream here.  And of course, there’s the orange zest.  Orange and figs…YUM!  I used my mulit-pot here, too.  Sometimes life is just too good.   I’m just going to hit some highlights in terms of the method.  You’re wicked smart, and you’ve made stew before, so you don’t need a ton of pictures and to have me ramble on more than I need to.  So….

Lapsang souchong oolong tea is lovely to cook with.  It adds a rich, complex smokiness to savory dishes.  I also grind it in my handy-dandy spice (coffee) grinder, toss a few other lovely tastes and it becomes a dry rub for meat.  Oh yeah, you can actually drink this in “tea” form, too.  It can become bitter, if you use too much, as in “too much of a good thing”, but this amount is pretty subtle.

When I brown meat for stews, I like to actually purchase chuck steaks, at least 1 1/2-inches thick.  Then I brown the whole piece, on both sides, let it stand for at least 15-20 minutes, and THEN cut the meat into large-ish pieces, at least 2-inches square.  I find by doing this, the meat is less likely to shred up and fall apart.  We seem to enjoy stew in large chunks.  This time the meat was “mock tenderloins”, which is from the round, not the chuck, but they had nice marbling, so I used them.  They worked well, but I still prefer chuck steak for stews or braises.

I used frozen pearl onions, which I get in bags.  These came from Trader Joe’s™, but most supermarkets sell them in the freezer section.  I used to clean fresh pearl onions, but that’s a crazy amount of work and these taste delicious.  But, if you prefer fresh, by all means, use them.

Braised Beef with Orange and Figs

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Moderately Easy
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  • 3 pounds chuck steak(s)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (you may need a bit more)
  • 3/4 cup diced fresh fennel bulb
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomato strips
  • 1/3 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 large orange, peel removed in strips and julienned
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2-3 cups dry red wine
  • 1 tablespoon beef base concentrate
  • 6 dried figs, halved
  • 2 teaspoons loose black tea (lapsang souchong oolong is perfect)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coffee beans, (ground to a powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic granules
  • 1 pound frozen pearl onions (no need to thaw)
  • 2 teaspoons arrowroot, stirred into 2 tablespoons cold water
  • Mashed potatoes, for service
  • Cumin-Roasted Carrots, for service

Multi-Cooker Version:  Assemble the multi-cooker according to the directions.  Press “Sauté” on your cooker; add the oil to the metal insert.  Season the meat with salt on both sides.  Place the steak(s) in the insert; leave it alone for at least 2 minutes or longer.  You want the meat to brown nicely.  When browned, flip the meat to the second side; brown.  Remove the meat to a plate with an edge; let stand for at least 15 minutes.

While the meat rests, add additional oil, if necessary, to the insert; add the onion and fennel.  Sauté for 3-4 minutes until the veggies begin to wilt.  If the veggies brown a bit, that’s fine, too.  Add the sun-dried tomatoes, orange juice concentrate, orange zest, the allspice, white wine, red wine and beef base concentrate.  Bring to the boil; boil for 1 minute.  Cut the beef into large-ish pieces, about 3 inches.  Add the beef chunks, dried fig halves, the coffee, the black tea and garlic granules.  Bring to the simmer, giving the mixture a stir after about 2 minutes.  Set the pot to SLOW COOK on LOW for at least 6-8 hours.   If you wish, set the cooker to the PRESSURE COOKER option, LOW setting.  Add the frozen pearl onions; pressure cook for 15 minutes, allow the steam to release naturally.  When the steam is released, pour the arrowroot slurry into the mixture; simmer for 2 minutes or until the mixture thickens nicely.  Serve over mashed potatoes, cooked pasta or rice.  I like to serve this with Cumin-Roasted Carrots or other vegetables you like.

Braised Beef with Orange and Figs Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2019.  All rights reserved.