Rich Caribbean stew (stewed) beef and creamy sweet potato mash
Hope everyone had a great weekend. I can’t say enough good things about Grand Rivière. We are here for a short staycation escaping carnival because where we live is right in the middle of the action. So if you’re not playing you need to get out! The last few days have been filled with good food and lots of relaxation and catching up on a lot of reading. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy the holiday weekend.
Let’s get to this beef and mash though! This beef is wonderfully flavourful and I don’t cook it often enough. At least that is how my husband feels about it. It’s fabulously tender. And the gravy it produces is lick the plate clean worthy. The reason I think I don’t make it often is that it takes a while for it to get done. It stews at a simmer for at least 1-2 hours. Of course that is because I don’t have a pressure cooker. If I had a pressure cooker it would be done in less than an hour so definitely use your pressure cooker to make this if you have one.
I do love the taste of braised and stewed meats and especially the sauce and gravy they produce. They are layered with the flavours of the meat broth that’s produced as well as the bones if using bone in meat and the seasonings and veggies. The kitchen smells so darn good while stewing as well. You just can’t wait until the pot is done!!
When you say stewed meat in Trinidad it means creole styled meat prep. Seasoning meat in green seasoning and then browning it in caramelised or almost burnt sugar. This gives the meat its unmistakable Trini-creole flavour that is so wonderful. It’s subtlety sweet and aromatic because of the seasoning and the browning process.
I also love mashed potatoes in general and this is my go to recipe that I use for all my mashed potato needs including the mash on top of
my shepherd’s pie that I make. Which reminds me i haven’t made a shepherd’s pie in far too long. I’m surprised my husband hasn’t said anything about that. Thats also another dish he can’t get enough of. I will have to make it and share my version soon.
Ok so why is this mash so good? Well it has butter and cream in it that is why for one reason. I know that that’s a lot of fat but I’m sorry to say that I have tried many variations of mashed potatoes that claim to be fabulous without any fat /dairy fat added and they all disappoint. Please feel free to prove me wrong I’m willing to try without it but I have yet to try one that is as satisfying.
The second reason I love making them is how easy they are to make. I know that using a potato ricer (looks like a large garlic press) and putting the potatoes through twice will achieve a beautifully smooth and delicious mash but that’s if you have a ricer and also have the patience to put your potatoes through it twice, or the energy to sit and mash a pot of potatoes with a masher. I love using the mixer because it’s fast easy and achieves a smooth and creamy mash texture in just a few minutes.
So feel free to use any method mentioned.
You may have noticed in the recipe that I like to reserve a bit of the cooking water before mashing. I think the starchiness in the water adds to the creaminess of the mash but that is optional you can totally drain all the water if you wish. This recipe allows for some variation too. I use this as a base recipe but I love to add roasted garlic and cheeses and sometimes I will swap out the cream for sour cream or buttermilk too to add some tang. I love to add herbs also. My favourite ones to add are thyme and sage. Sage especially goes well with the sweet potatoes. Just don’t put too much sage because it can overpower sometimes.
Together these mashed potatoes and stewed beef make for a perfect meal!! Beware though if you do make it your family will be nagging for more!
Easy and no fuss Sweet Potato Mash
- 4-5 medium sized sweet potatoes
- 2 tbsp of butter
- 1⁄4-1⁄3 cup heavy cream (cooking cream or whipping cream or low fat cream if your of that disposition)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Wash peel and chop your potatoes (all pieces should be about the same size) and place in a large pot
Cover potatoes in water and heavily salt the water and bring to boil
Once boiling turn down the temp to medium and allow them to simmer for 20-25 minutes or until done (potato should mash very easily when pressed against pot)
Pour out excess water reserving a small amount at the bottom of the pot
Add your butter and gently toss the potatoes in the pot with a fork or wooden spoon to melt the butter then grab your hand held mixer (or toss the potatoes in your standing mixer) and start to mix potatoes on low and slowly pour in the heavy cream until you reach desired mash texture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. At this point you can also add or mix in some roasted garlic, Parmesan cheese, cream cheese or your herbs. My favourite to add to sweet potatoes is sage or thyme and also chives.
Plate, top with a couple of dollops of butter and serve
Hearty and rich stew (stewed) beef
- 1-2 lb of stewing beef cleaned, fat and grizzle removed, and seasoned with green seasoning and a couple of tbsps of Worcestershire sauce for at least an hour but overnight is better
- 2 tbsp brown sugar/Demerara
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 large carrot peeled and sliced
- 1 onion sliced finely
- 1-2 tomatoes sliced
- 1 tbsp of molasses browning (optional-only if needed)
- 2-3 pimento peppers chopped finely
- 1 heaping tbsp of tomato ketchup( optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1⁄2-1 cup of water and more if needed
- Heat oil in a large pot to medium high(I like to use my cast iron pot) and add in your brown sugar - allow the brown sugar to caramelise to the point that it’s nice and dark, bubbling and starting to smoke — this takes a few minutes
- There is a fine line between caramelising and burning it. Burning it will result in a very bitter tasting pot of food. So if your not sure err on the side of caution until you get the hang of it and add some browning or molasses to achieve the colour you would like. Don’t over do it with the molasses either because the result will be the same bitterness. Just add a tsp at a time as needed.
- Once oil and sugar are caramelised and bubbling add in your meat cautiously because the caramel likes to spatter and burns really bad ( I use the lid as my shield) stir the meat up really well, cover and let simmer for approx. 10 minutes stirring and checking it every few minutes. Towards the end of the ten minutes if it’s not as brown as you would like it add in your molasses and stir well.
- Now turn up the heat to high for a few minutes and stir well and constantly until most of the moisture and juice from meat is mostly evaporated - takes only a few minutes
- Once it’s mostly evaporated add in your veggies(pimentos, onions, tomatoes, carrot, plus your ketchup and I also like to add a tsp of fresh green seasoning for extra flavour — I usually have some frozen to take from) and sauté for a couple minutes
- Add your water and stir well, cover and let simmer away for 11⁄2-2 hours or until beef is done cooking and tender on medium heat(check if it needs more water and stir it frequently- add a little more water if needed as well as salt and pepper)
- Once cooked remove lid and check for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed and cook for another few minutes to allow the sauce to reduce a little (optional if you like a thicker sauce)
- Note: some prefer to brown meat separately in small batches and then add it to the caramelised sugar but that is completely your choice - end result is beautifully delicious either way