I decided upon the perfect thing to make for dinner while my husband was out of town one weekend. I would try the recipe for Beef with 100 Cloves of Garlic. Actually, I came across two competing recipes (second one here), both adaptations of the same original. I love garlic, and although my husband likes it, I didn’t want to force him to try a recipe with a flavor so intense.
The original of this recipe took beef, garlic, olives, and red wine. I don’t like olives, but somehow I like capers instead, and I decided that the briny capers would make them a decent substitute for the olives. I cooked this on the stove, then transferred it to the oven for slower cooking. I would have made a crockpot version of it, but I didn’t have time the evening before to prepare it for the slow cooker. I made this dish on a Friday, so that my leftovers wouldn’t scare my coworkers if they were too intense.
This recipe was indeed intense and flavorful – very rich. A little went a long way – think, tapas-style, where you’re satisfied with a few bites.
Beef with Garlic and Capers
2 lb stew beef
4 heads garlic, cloves peeled but I don’t think I sliced them (see this link on peeling)
1/4-1/2 cup capers, drained (I finished off a jar – probably about 2-2.5oz of capers)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 bottle red wine
1 bay leaf
(dried basil – I forget if I added it or not)
2 cups additional red wine, water, or very low-sodium beef broth
I seared the beef in an oven-proof pot, and added the garlic and capers. I added wine to deglaze and stirred in tomato paste. I added the bay leaf and a little ground black pepper, covered it with a lid, and put it in a 325F oven for 2 hours (the perfect amount of time to run 5 miles and shower). While it bakes, the liquid reduces to practically nothing; I added 2 cups water to deglaze, stirring up the reduced red wine from the bottom of the pan. The capers and garlic will practically dissolve in the process. Gently reheat if necessary.
The beef turned out very well. It was garlicky (from four heads of garlic) and briny (from the capers, which simply dissolved after cooking for so long). It was tomatoey and rich from the red wine that simmered and reduced down. It paired perfectly with the Italian Bread I decided to make since the weather was cool, but would be excellent over pasta, with lots of potatoes, or mixed with rice.
This dish was intense; a little of this stew went a long way. I think it would be excellent served as a tapas. I immensely enjoyed it and can’t think of anything that I’d change about how I made it.