Beef or Pork Stew with Juniper and Chile Powder

This hearty one-pot dish is perfect for autumn and winter meals. If you want to make the stew hot and spicy, add 1/2 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes 15 minutes before serving. This recipe freezes well.

Juniper berries, which come from an evergreen tree, are small and reddish blue-black with a wrinkled surface. The taste is bittersweet with the faint aroma of pine trees; the berries are the aromatic flavoring of gin, the popular liquor. Juniper berries are often paired with game — such as venison, boar, and rabbit — particularly when prepared as stews.

[Credit: ©David Bishop]
Credit: ©David Bishop

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours

Spice meter: Moderately spiced

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 pounds beef chuck or round or pork shoulder or a combination of each cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes

3 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil

2 leeks, washed well and thinly sliced

1 medium onion, chopped

2 red, yellow, or green bell peppers, thinly sliced

1 plump clove garlic, minced

1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons mild to medium ground chile pepper powder, such as ground ancho, Anaheim, or mild New Mexican

1-1/2 teaspoons juniper berries, lightly crushed

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1-1/2 cups chopped or crushed tomatoes

1-3/4 cups beef broth or water

1 orange, seeded and quartered

1 cup frozen corn kernels (optional)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley for garnish

  1. In a stewpot over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the leeks and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.

    Add the bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove the vegetables and set aside.

  2. Season the meat with salt and black pepper. In the same stewpot, heat the remaining olive oil. Working in batches, brown the meat on all sides.

  3. Return all the beef to the pot. Add ground chile pepper powder and stir. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes.

    Add the reserved vegetables and the juniper berries, thyme, tomatoes, broth, and orange wedges. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover partially and simmer for 45 minutes.

  4. Add the corn and simmer, partially covered, for an additional 30 to 45 minutes or until the meat is tender.

    Add more water or broth if necessary. Before serving, remove the orange wedges and stir in the parsley.

Serve with crusty bread, cornbread, warmed flour tortillas, mashed potatoes, or mashed sweet potatoes.

Per serving: Calories 274 (From Fat 152); Fat 17g (Saturated 5g); Cholesterol 67mg; Sodium 567mg; Carbohydrate 9g (Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 22g.

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