Braised beef with potatoes, granny style


Last two weeks the weather was, how shall I put this, not smoke friendly. So I pulled out my dutch oven, or, to be precise, a bigger brother of a wok, made of cast iron, which can be used on a gas stove top, and… well, there was a cubed beef, potatoes, carrots, onions…. so here we go – braised beef with potatoes, the way my granny used to make it 30 years ago.


  • 1 kg (2.5 lb) cubed beef – chuck, rump or any other cut, suitable for long cooking.
  • 1-2 tbsp white flour
  • 6 tbsp canola oil
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 big onions
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 3 carrots
  • 5 medium potatoes
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 15-20 allspice berries
  • 1 tbsp of black peppercorns, whole
  • 1 tbsp salt (or more, by a taste)
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper (or more, by a taste)
  • 1 tbsp of sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp hot paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin

First, chop the onions and the garlic, peel the carrots and cut into a 2-3 cm (1″) thick pieces. In a big bow mix the beef cubes with the flour.

Then in the dutch oven (or any big heavy pot) heat the canola and olive oil until very hot and fry the onions and garlic until fragrant and bright golden.

Next step is to brown the meat. I like to put the meat into the pot one piece at a time, because I do not want to let the temperature drop too fast. If that happens the meat is not being fried, but rather boiled in oil, and that’s not what I am after.

Once the meat has been browned, throw in the carrots, black peppercorns, allspice, hot and sweet paprika and, finally, the cumin. Mix it all well and fry about 3-4 minutes. Eventually, pour in boiling water just enough to cover the content of the pot about 2-3 cm (1″). Bring to a boil, add the bay leaves, salt and the ground black pepper, taste… if the seasoning is fine, lower the heat and let it simmer for at least 1.5 hours… The simmering time depends only on the meat you use, and once the meat is tender, you can move to the next step.

So, once the meat is nice and tender, and the amount of liquids in the pot has reduced significantly, it is the time to add the potatoes. Peel and cut them into rough cubes and then place the cubes in the pot. Mix well and then pour in boiling water to cover the potatoes. Stir and bring to boil.

Continue cooking until the potatoes are ready. The liquids will reduce once again forming a very tasty sauce, so don’t forget some fresh soft bread to soak in it. 🙂



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