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.
I had heard of cookies, cakes, even sweet breads made with TEA, but never a savory dish. I searched through all my books and found a Tea Smoked Duck recipe. Same grocery store again (can’t wait for Whole Foods to open): no duck available. So I decided to make one of the dishes Sarah had suggested in her challenge – Beef Braised in Rooios Tea with Sweet Potatoes. Not only was it surprisingly delicious, my boys comments were, “whatever you are cooking smells GREAT!” The meat was so tender and the sauce was great over rice and for bread dipping: WE DID BOTH……….this is definitely a keeper!!
Beef Braised in Rooibos Tea with Sweet Potatoes
Rooibos tea is an herbal infusion from South Africa. Also called red tea, redbush tea, or honeybush tea, it is honey-flavored and light colored. It is gaining popularity because it is low in bitter tannins and caffeine-free. It can be substituted in this recipe by black tea, or try another dark herbal tea such as one containing licorice.
1¼ pounds (600 gm) brisket or stewing beef, trimmed and cut into 2-inch (5 cm) chunks
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (18 gm) (⅔ oz) flour
1 tablespoon (15 m) oil
2 onions, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (8 gm) tomato concentrate
5 rooibos tea bags (or 2 tablespoons loose tea leaves) **I used Earl Grey(black tea)**
1 quart (1 litre) just-boiled water
5 tablespoons (75 ml) red wine vinegar
4 strips unwaxed orange peel, pith removed (the peel of about half an orange)
2 cinnamon sticks
2 inches (5 cm) fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
4 small sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
¾ cup (175 ml) mild honey (optional)
cilantro (coriander) leaves, to garnish
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Season the beef and coat in the flour. Heat the oil in a large stock pot and then brown the beef on all sides.
2. Add the onions and celery. Put on a tight fitting lid and let soften for ten minutes.
3. Add the garlic and tomato concentrate and cook for one minute.
4. Meanwhile, place the tea bags in a heatproof pitcher and pour over the water. Allow to steep for four minutes. Then remove the tea bags (or strain out the tea leaves) and pour the tea into the stock pot. Add the red wine vinegar, orange peel, cinnamon sticks, and ginger.
5. Lower the heat and cover. Let the stew simmer for 2 hours, until the beef is tender.
6. Add the sweet potatoes, honey (if using), and season with salt and pepper. Cook for a further 30 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are soft.
7. Serve garnished with chopped cilantro.