Beef with Green Beans (Moschari me Fasolakia)
Moschari me fasolakia is a Greek beef stew that features green beans. The cooking liquid is fresh tomato puree, with water added as needed.
Ingredients (All amounts are flexible and approximate)
2 lb beef stew meat (I discussed the best meat for stew on my other “Beef with…” post.)
2 lb green beans, ends snapped off
2-3 lb tomatoes, grated or pureed in food processor
1 lb onions, chopped (a couple of medium-sized onions)
1 lb potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (a couple of medium-sized potatoes)
4 cloves garlic, cut into chunks
1 bunch parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
You can cut down on spattering by blotting the meat dry before you sear it. And for best flavor, sprinkle the meat generously with salt and pepper after you’ve blotted it.
Heat 2-3 TB olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven over medium-high. When the oil is hot but not yet smoking, add the meat. It’s important not to crowd the meat, so you may need to do this in two batches, depending on the size of your pot and the amount of meat. Please notice that there is space between the pieces, this way they are seared instead of steamed. Don’t move the pieces around like you’re stir frying, just let them sit and sizzle until they’re well-browned. You’ll know when a piece is ready to turn because it will quit sticking to the pan. Turn each piece just once to brown the other side.
I needed to sear the meat in two batches this time, so when the first batch was well-browned on both sides I removed it and put it in a bowl, then added another tablespoon of oil and the second batch of meat. I turned the heat down just a litte bit too. Why? Well, see that brown gunk on the bottom of the pan? That’s the ‘fond’ and it’s going to add a lot of flavor to the sauce. I really really don’t want to burn it and make it bitter. You don’t need super high heat to sear meat, medium high will work just fine, with less mess and less chance of burning.
When all the meat is seared on both sides, you can either add the onions to the meat or you can take the meat out and add the onions to the empty pot. In this case because I had so much meat, I decided it would be easier to saute the onions on their own. (See my other Beef with…” post if you want to see what it looks like to saute the onions with the meat.)
Stir the onions, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen up the fond.
After a few minutes, when the onions have begun to soften, add the garlic and saute, stirring, for a minute or two.
Dump the meat back in and add the grated (or pureed) tomatoes.
Stir the meat into the tomatoes, and add water to cover the beef if necessary. In the picture below, you can see that the meat is sticking up out of the liquid, so after I took the shot, I added some water to cover the meat.
Bring to a boil, then cover and turn the heat down so that the liquid is at a low simmer. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes or so.
Add the potatoes…
…and the green beans and parsley. Give the pot a couple of stirs, then add water if necessary to make sure the beans are mostly covered in liquid. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Turn the heat up and bring the pot to a low boil. Cover and boil until the potatoes are done and the green beans are soft, about 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so. The green beans will not be bright green, instead they will be deliciously sweet! Serve with bread and feta.
Another take on this dish:
Greek Beef and Green Bean Stew