Have I gushed enough? I promise, I don’t work for the International Rooibos Beef Stew Council. Because I like to eat quickly, I made mine in the pressure cooker – 15 minutes on high pressure and then let the pot release the pressure naturally for meltingly tender beef. However, for all you non-pressure cooker darlings, I’ve left the instructions below for cooking in a good ol’ fashioned stock pot. However you cook it, enjoy the dickens out of this one – it is resplendent.
Rooibos Beef Stew with Sweet Potatoes
Rooibos tea is an herbal infusion from South Africa. Also called red tea, redbush tea, or honeybush tea, it is honey-flavored and light colored. It is gaining popularity because it is low in bitter tannins and caffeine-free. It can be substituted in this recipe by black tea, or try another dark herbal tea such as one containing licorice.
5 rooibos tea bags (or 2 tablespoons loose tea leaves)
1 quart of boiling water
2 pounds of stewing beef, trimmed and cut into 2-inch chunks
2 tablespoons of flour
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 onions, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
5 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
4 strips unwaxed orange peel, pith removed (the peel of about half an orange)
2 cinnamon sticks
2 inches of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
4 small sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
¾ cup of mild honey (optional)
cilantro leaves, to garnish
Season the beef and coat in the flour. Heat the oil in a large stock pot and then brown the beef on all sides. Add the onions and celery. Put on a tight fitting lid and let soften for ten minutes. Add the garlic and tomato concentrate and cook for one minute.
Meanwhile, place the tea bags in a heatproof pitcher and pour over the water. Allow to steep for four minutes. Then remove the tea bags (or strain out the tea leaves) and pour the tea into the stock pot. Add the red wine vinegar, orange peel, cinnamon sticks, and ginger. Lower the heat and cover. Let the stew simmer for 2 hours, until the beef is tender.
Add the sweet potatoes, honey (if using), and season with salt and pepper. Cook for a further 30 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are soft. Serve garnished with chopped cilantro.