Argentina Style Farmer's Stew

3 cups water
1 lb lean ground beef
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 med onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tbs fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
3 cups beef broth, heated
1/2 lb zucchini, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup whole kernel corn
2 tbs raisins
1/2 tsp Tabasco pepper sauce small pear, firm but ripe, diced into 1-inch pieces
6 cups cooked white rice

In a large saucepan, boil water. Remove the saucepan from heat. Add the ground beef, stirring to break meat into little pieces. Let sit 5 minutes, stirring once or twice, until most of the pink disappears from the meat. Drain meat well, discarding the water. In a large deep-sided skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until onions are limp and slightly brown. Mix in the blanched beef. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until all liquid has evaporated from the pan and the meat is lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add the bell peppers sweet potato, and garlic. Continue cooking and stirring the mixture for 5 minutes, or until peppers and potatoes are slightly tender. Add potatoes are slightly tender. Add the parsley, sugar, cumin, and salt. Stir and cook for one minute to blend flavors. Pour beef broth into the skillet. Add the zucchini, corn, raisins, and Tabasco pepper sauce. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, being careful not to boil. Add pear and simmer for 10 additional minutes, or until all the fruits and vegetables are tender. Ladle over rice.

Yield: 6 servings.

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Cajun Country -- New Iberia, Louisiana