Kabab Halla (Beef Stew) with Prunes
By shahdan • May 27, 2019
Traditional Kabab Halla (Beef Stew) will always be the ultimate comfort food in our Egyptian homes. It is a delicious meal for the everyday, and always a crowd pleaser in big events. I especially love to include it in my large gathering menus because it is the perfect make-ahead dish. It allows me to focus on other food items on my menu when I cook it a day in advance and keep it in the fridge. The beef cubes tend to also be more tender when I gently reheat it the next day. The prunes partly melt with the sauce and give the dish added sweetness and creaminess with the onions, carrots and potatoes. Prunes elevate the taste and take the richness of the dish to a whole new level.
- 1 kg beef cubes - لحم كباب حلة
- 2 tablespoon olive oil - زيت زيتون
- 4 large onion - بصلة
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder - قرفة
- 1 pinch nutmeg - جوزة الطيب
- 2 small bay leaves - ورق لاورا
- 2 small cardamom - حبهان
- 3 medium carrots - جزر
- 3 medium potatoes - بطاطس
- 1/2 cup dried prunes (pitted)
- salt and pepper (to taste) - ملح و فلفل
- 1 tablespoon parsley (chopped to garnish) - بقدونس
Step by step
- Start by roughly chopping the onions. They don't need to be cut perfectly because they will melt in the beef sauce as they cook.
- Using kitchen paper, dry the beef cubes very well and season generously with black pepper.
- Heat a very large pan (a large pan will help you brown more beef faster) and add 1/2 tbsp. olive oil. When the pan is extremely hot start adding the beef cubes without overcrowding the pan. You need to hear every piece of beef sizzle when added to the pan in order to get that dark caramelised colour that will enrich the flavour. You will need to do this in batches. Transfer beef that is browned on all sides to a pot and set aside while you brown the rest of the meat.
- When all beef has been browned and set aside, add the onions to the same pan used for browning the beef (after adding half a tablespoon olive oil) and season with salt and pepper. Stir fry on high heat until slightly soft. The onions will absorb all the beef flavours in the pan.
- Transfer the onions to the beef and place on high heat. Add the spices, salt and pepper and stir. If the meat and onions have enough juices, cover and leave to cook on very low heat. If they don't just add 1/8 cup of hot water.
- Leave the beef to cook on low heat for 90- 120 minutes, making sure it has little water so it doesn't burn. If you feel it's dry, add only 1/8 of hot water each time, and give it a quick stir and cover again.
- While the beef is cooking, slice carrots and potatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake in 200C oven until soft but not mushy.
- When the beef is tender, add the prunes and let them cook with the beef and sauce for another 10 minutes. By the this stage, the onions will be melted into a rich brown sauce.
- Mix the beef gently with the carrots and potatoes if you will serve immediately, and garnish with parsley. If you are cooking ahead, wait for the beef to cool before putting in the fridge. Place the carrots and potatoes in a separate box and refrigerate. Gently heat together the next day before serving.
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