The name for this beef stew is something of a joke in my family. I had tried to think of a suitable name for this tasty Middle-Eastern inspired beef stew, and after lots of thinking, I just had to go with the name that it is known by in my house. We have some family friends called the Lavins, and whenever we would meet up with them before the pandemic, it was always a feast. We would bring food to their house, and them to ours, and enjoy something of a feast together. This happened quite frequently, and we always liked to think about what we would bring the next time we met them. When my dad first made this Beef Stew, a mish-mash of many flavours and random ingredients he found in the fridge, we weren’t really expecting much. However, when we tried it, it was so tasty, and he suggested we should make it the next time we saw the Lavins. From then on, it has been known only as beef Lavin, and it somehow it just doesn’t seem fitting to call it anything else.
This is one of those dishes that is born from a random bunch of ingredients, meaning it doesn’t really have a particular cuisine influence. Middle eastern spices such as Harissa and Ras el Hanout flavour simple stewing steak creating a delicious infusion of different tastes. It tastes a little like some tagine recipes we have tried, slow cooking in the oven for 2 hours to create beautiful tender meat. It just works somehow!
Ingredients for this Beef Stew
This beef stew is made with prunes for a hint of sweetness, but these could easily be swapped for apricots, or even some cranberries for a similar taste.
You will need to source a few ingredients for this such as the harissa paste and ras el hanout, which you might not already have, but these should be readily available in most supermarkets. They really take this dish to the next level!
You can alter the chilli if you like less or more heat – the amount I use adds a gentle warmth, but if you like it spicier, go for it!
Notes for this Beef Stew
Browning the onions properly is key to achieving flavour in this Beef Stew. It will take around 10 minutes, and you need to keep the heat a little higher, adding a touch more oil or a splash of water if they begin to stick.
- 1 onion (red or white)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 lb stewing steak (500g, chopped into 1 inch pieces)
- 2 small potatoes
- 6 sun dried tomatoes
- 8 cherry tomatoes
- thumb ginger
- 10 prunes
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp ras el hanout
- 1 tbsp rose harissa paste
- splash hot sauce
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 500 ml water
- 1 beef stock cube
- Blend together the spices, harissa paste, hot sauce, cherry tomatoes, garlic cloves, ginger and 1 tbsp olive oil. Chop up your beef into 1-2 inch chunks, then coat with the spice mixture. Set aside.
- Prepare the vegetables. Dice your onion and chop the carrots and potatoes into bite-sized pieces.
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Once hot, add the cumin seeds, stirring to make sure they don't burn. After about 30 seconds, add the diced onions and cook until brown, around 5-10 minutes.
- Next, add the beef, and then the carrots, potatoes, prunes and sun-dried tomatoes. Stir to combine.
- Transfer to an oven-safe dish that has a lid, add in around 500ml water and crumble in your stock cube. Stir together again, then add a lid and place in the oven for 2 hours.
- At 90 minutes, check on the dish, stir, and add a little more water if it is looking dry. Once cooked for 2 hours, serve with couscous and bread for dipping.
Gather your ingredients
Including all your spices
Blend together the spices, harissa paste, a little oil and the cherry tomatoes
Blend until quite smooth
Cut your beef into chunks
Coat your beef in the spice mixture
Chop your potatoes and carrots
Finely dice your onions
Heat a little oil in a pan and fry your cumin seeds for 30 seconds
add your onions and fry for around 10 minutes until browned
Add the beef, prunes, carrots and sun dried tomatoes
Add 500ml water, cover, and cook for around 2 hours, until the meat is tender
Serve with couscous, yoghurt and bread for dipping