Carbonada Criolla is a meat and fruit stew, popular in Uruguay. This is a beef stew with potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, onions and peppers – sounds pretty normal so far, right? – plus peaches and pears! This tradition of using fruit in savory meat dishes is said to come from the large Basque immigrant population in Uruguay. The fruit adds a nice sweetness, but blends in well so that (especially after reheating) you would be hard-pressed to identify it as fruit.
I made a big pot of this stew and rewarmed it the next day for a group of friends. Others brought a pear and walnut lettuce salad, crusty wheat bread, pumpkin cheesecake bars, and Argentine Malbec red wine. Great meal and great company!
The recipe below is an approximation. I was pulling together ideas from two slightly different recipes, and then added a few things of my own at the end to enhance the flavors, and I was not measuring as I went…. sorry!
2 lbs. beef chunks “beef for stew” as it is labeled at Kroger, bite-sized pieces
1/4 c. olive oil
1/2 c. white wine
Toss the beef pieces with flour to coat and fry on medium heat in a large stockpot until nicely browned. Add 1/2 c. wine to deglaze the pot, scraping the lovely bits from the bottom of the pot. Remove the meat and remaining sauce to a bowl and heat a couple more Tbsp. of oil in the same pot.
2 c. chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
Saute these vegetables until softened and then add the meat back to the pot.
1 – 1/2 small cans tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
2 c. beef broth
1 c. water
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and simmer until the meat is tender, about 1 hour. Remove the bay leaf.
2 c. butternut squash, cubed
1 large potato, cubed
1 large sweet potato, cubed
Simmer for about 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
2 Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and cubed
2 peaches, peeled, cored and cubed (I used frozen and it worked fine)
Add more beef broth or water as needed, but it should be a thick stew at the end. I added a more of the spices, oregano and basil, as well as a Tbsp of apple cider vinegar and a couple of shakes of worchestershire sauce, and more salt, to taste. Cook about 10 more minutes, and then serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Reheats well.