Sarah from Simply Cooked was our November Daring Cooks’ hostess and she challenged us to create something truly unique in both taste and technique! We learned how to cook using tea with recipes from Tea Cookbook by Tonia George and The New Tea Book by Sara Perry.
This was an innovative challenge, as most of us have never cooked with tea. Sarah suggested several recipes, including Chinese tea eggs (which I’ve made before – they’re pretty and quite tasty!), and this beef braise that uses rooibos tea. I really enjoy rooibos tea (I’m kind of a tea nut – I probably have 15 different varieties between the house and my desk at work), and thought that this would be a unique way to try it. It was also easily converted to gluten-free, which is an added bonus.
This was a different stew than what I usually prepare – the flavors of ginger, garlic, and the rooibos are warming. It smelled heavenly. However, if I was to make it again, I’d make some changes. I used beef stew meat, and it was too lean and became somewhat dry. I’d rather use brisket or another meat with more fat. Also, it was too sweet for our tastes. The recipe originally called for 3/4 cup of honey – I reduced it to 2 tablespoons – and it still was too sweet. I think omitting the honey entirely, and instead adding some other “sweet” spices, such as star anise, would be perfect.
All in all, I did really enjoy using rooibos in a braise such as this, as it added a lovely complex boost to the flavors. This was a wonderful challenge!
Gluten-Free Beef Braised in Rooibos Tea with Sweet Potatoes
1 1/2 lbs beef stew meat (next time I’ll use brisket, cut into bite-sized pieces)
salt and pepper
2 T arrowroot starch
1 T coconut oil
2 onions, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 T tomato paste
5 rooibos tea bags
1 quart just-boiled water
5 T red wine vinegar
4 strips unwaxed orange peel
2 cinnamon sticks
2 inches fresh ginger, minced
4 small sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 T honey (next time, leave out)
cilantro leaves, to garnish
Season the beef and coat in the arrowroot starch. Heat the oil in a large, heavy Dutch oven, and brown the beef on all sides. Remove and set aside. Add the onions and celery and saute for a minute. Cover with a lid and let soften for 10 minutes. Add garlic and tomato paste and saute for another minute.
Meanwhile, add the tea bags to the just-boiled water and allow to steep for 4-5 minutes. Remove the tea bags and pour into the stock pot. Return the beef to the pot, and add the red wine vinegar, orange peel, cinnamon sticks, and ginger. Lower the heat and cover. Simmer for 2 hours or until beef is tender.
Add the sweet potatoes and honey and allow to simmer for 20-30 additional minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve garnished with cilantro.
This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.