Melt-in-Your-Mouth Beef Stew with Vegetable Ragout

Transform the toughest cuts of beef into a tender, flavorful stew that literally melts in your mouth, paired with a hearty vegetable ragout. This recipe is a celebration of textures and tastes, blending the richness of slow-cooked beef with the freshness of a vibrant vegetable medley. Here’s how to master the art of cooking tough meat to perfection:


For the Beef Stew:

  • 1 kg beef, any tough cut suitable for stewing, cut into chunks
  • 400g onions, sliced
  • 100-120g butter
  • 50ml water
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ to 2 teaspoons salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

For the Vegetable Ragout:

  • 2-3 eggplants, diced
  • 1-2 zucchini, diced
  • Salt, for seasoning
  • Oil, for frying
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1-2 bell peppers, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 teaspoon khmeli-suneli (Georgian spice blend, or substitute with a mix of coriander, dill, and fenugreek)
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Fresh herbs (dill, parsley, coriander), chopped, to taste
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Beef Stew:

  1. Prep the Beef: Season the beef chunks with salt and pepper. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the beef in batches, browning it well on all sides to develop flavor. Remove browned beef and set aside.
  2. Sauté the Onions: In the same pot, add the sliced onions and a pinch of salt, sautéing until soft and golden. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute.
  3. Slow Cook: Return the beef to the pot with the onions. Add water, ensuring it just covers the meat. Stir in the apple cider vinegar. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook gently for 2-3 hours or until the beef is tender that it falls apart easily. Check occasionally, adding more water if needed to prevent drying out.
  4. Final Seasoning: Once the beef is tender, adjust the seasoning with more salt, pepper, and apple cider vinegar to taste.

Vegetable Ragout:

  1. Prep the Vegetables: Season the diced eggplants and zucchini with salt and let them sit for about 20 minutes. This process helps remove excess water. Rinse and pat dry.
  2. Fry the Vegetables: Heat oil in a large skillet. Fry the eggplants and zucchini in batches until golden and slightly softened. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
  3. Sauté: In the same skillet, add a little more oil if necessary, and sauté the chopped onion until translucent. Add the bell peppers and cook until they start to soften. Stir in the diced tomatoes, minced garlic, and khmeli-suneli spice blend. Cook until the tomatoes break down into a sauce.
  4. Combine: Add the fried eggplants and zucchini back to the skillet. Mix well to combine with the tomato and onion mixture. Season with black pepper and salt, to taste. Cook on low heat for about 10 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.
  5. Garnish: Just before serving, stir in the fresh herbs.

To Serve:

Ladle the tender beef stew into bowls, accompanied by the flavorful vegetable ragout on the side. Enjoy the contrast of the melt-in-your-mouth beef with the slightly crisp, vibrant vegetables, all bursting with rich spices and fresh herbs. This dish is not just a meal but a culinary experience, showcasing how patience and simple techniques can transform basic ingredients into a feast.