So remember those exciting announcements I promised a few posts back? Here we go!
In addition to having the wonderful, beyond amazing, crazy-busy, never bored job of being Joan‘s assistant, I recently got a job working at Bazaar Spices, a lovely little spice shop in Washington, D.C.’s Union Market. If you’re in D.C., be sure to stop by Union Market, and, more importantly, Bazaar Spices. The second you walk by your senses are almost assaulted (in the best possible way) by the smell of super fresh spices and herbs. It’s been great to expand my spice, herb, and botanical knowledge, and to talk to the different people who stop by. Next time, maybe it’ll be you!
Part of the Bazaar Spices job includes contributing to their Spicy DC Blog, and I wrote a recipe for Brown Butter Cinnamon Cookies with Crystallized Ginger Studs, based on my mom’s recipe for Polvorones. They’re pretty delicious, if I may say, and would love a spot on your holiday cookie rotation. (AND, and, and, the recipe was featured in Union Market’s Thanksgiving shopping list. Boom.)
Also, the blog now has a Twitter account! Follow us @thetroikatable to get random musings and pictures of food from yours truly.
And, coming soon, there will be a WHOLE ‘NOTHER PAGE on the blog! I’ve been compiling a running list of recipes I want to make from the pages carefully doggy-eared in cookbooks before bookmarks and the internet was a thing (aka, when I was 12), websites I’ve bookmarked only to never look back, and pages that I’ve saved to Pocket (and no, I still don’t have a Pinterest, but I’m sure that will come any day now). I decided that it’s about time to actually DO something with them, and putting the list on the blog and actually, you know, making them and telling you all about it would be just the ticket.
Anyway, time for the 9th day before Christmas special: Beef Curry!
This Beef Curry is adapted from The Essential Caribbean Cookbook edited by Heather Thomas, a spicy little book full of recipes from throughout the Caribbean. The original recipe, Colombo de Porc, is a Pork curry from Martinique. After doing a little research, I discovered that Colombo Curry is a spice blend commonly found in the French West Indies (Martinique, Guadalupe, St. Martin, to name a few), and that Colombo Curry blends typically have toasted, uncooked rice ground into the mix, lending a nutty flavor and acting as a natural thickener. Maybe my recipe isn’t a Colombo at all, but it’s still pretty tasty.
I changed the recipe quite a bit to accommodate the ingredients I had on hand, and came up with something very delicious. The curry is fairly spicy and quite saucy, with a nice creaminess from coconut milk, and the curry would love it if you made tostones to dip up its juices. Don’t take my word for it, though, just make it; you’ll see.
Faux Colombo de Bœuf (Beef Curry)
Adapted from The Essential Caribbean Cookbook
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 1 pound beef stew meat, cut in 1-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 6 to 8 allspice berries
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds or 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1 to 2 hot peppers (such as jalapeños), sliced (remove seeds if you want less heat)
- 3/4 cup pineapple juice
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 chayote squash, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 to 2 poblano peppers, seeded and cut in 1/2-inch chunks
- 2 to 3 medium tomatoes, chopped, or 1 small can of tomatoes, or about a cup of leftover slow-roasted tomatoes (can you guess which one I used?)
- 3/4 cup coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Cilantro, to garnish
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides.
2. While the onions and beef are cooking, make your curry paste: Mash the coriander seeds, allspice berries, turmeric, mustard seeds or powder, and peppers in a mortar and pestle to make a paste.
3. Add the curry paste to the beef and onions, stir, and cook for about 3 more minutes, stirring once or twice.
4. Add the pineapple juice and water, cover the pan, and cook for about 30 to 45 minutes, until the beef is starting to be tender. (Or, if you have a pressure cooker, cook at high pressure for 10 to 12 minutes with a natural release, then proceed as directed.)
5. Add the chayote, poblanos, tomatoes, coconut milk, salt, and pepper, and cook uncovered for another 30 to 45 minutes, until the chayote is easily pierced with a fork and the beef is tender. Serve with rice, or tostones, and garnish with cilantro.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings