Cuban Beef Stew (Carne con Papas)

Carne con Papas, i.e. Spanish for beef and potatoes, is a Cuban-styled beef stew rooted in its Spanish colonisation days. It's characterised by the use of cumin and oregano being predominant flavours, and grounded in a base of white wine and tomatoes. Yes, you heard right, white wine, and not the usual red. Some recipes call for sherry, but I like to keep it traditional with a dry white, like a crisp New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

Ingredients (feeds 6):
1 kg stewing beef, 1" cubes
1 large onion, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 large green pepper, diced to 1cm-cubes
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
dash of tumeric (optional as it's really to give the stew the distinctive orange colour)
2 tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 can diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup white wine
1 cup pimento-stuffed spanish olives (didn't have this in my pantry so I switched it out with rainbow olives)
4 potatoes, cut into large chunks
2 large carrots, diced
2 cups water
1 cup beef stock (optional but I like the depth this gives)

1) Brown beef, in chicken-fat or bacon-infused flavoured oil, salting liberally, and taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Set aside in a stewing pot.

2) Fry onions, and garlic till fragrant.

3) Add carrots, fry for 2 minutes.

4) Add tomatoes, with juice, and fry for about 3 minutes.

5) Transfer to stewing pot with beef, add wine, reduce to half, then add stock, and water to cover beef. Add olives, oregano, coriander, paprika, cumin, tumeric, bay leaves, bring to a boil before lowering to a simmer for 2 hours, or until tender.

6) Add green pepper in the last 25 minutes before serving.

7) Add potatoes in the last 20 minutes before serving.

8) Salt to taste.

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