Last October, we received a note from listener, Steve, who reminded us of just how good Union Square Cafe’s Dominican Beef Stew is. He described this “ethereal” recipe as being “by far the biggest hit of all,” so while the restaurant awaits completion of their new location in Manhattan this spring, we thought we’d share the recipe with you.
When Evan spoke with Michael Romano, President of Culinary Development for Union Square Hospitality Group, he’d just published the book, Family Table: Staff Meals from Our Restaurants to Your Home, together with partner Danny Meyer, co-author Karen Stabiner and his restaurant staff.
Romano says that each of their restaurants establishes its own personality and system when it comes to the staff family meals. This Dominican Beef Stew recipe actually comes from Victor Estrella, a porter at Union Square Cafe. His dish was so popular with the staff that it was eventually added to the weekend brunch menu.
Victor Estrella’s Dominican Beef Stew
“Every once in awhile, a favorite staff family meal makes the jump to a restaurant’s actual menu. If it’s beloved by a bunch of restaurant professionals, surely, it’ll be enjoyed by the customers? Victor Estrella, a porter at Union Square Cafe, has been serving up this traditional Dominican beef stew as the family meal since he began working there in the early 1990s. Over time, it’s become restaurant lore, and is now on the weekend brunch menu so that patrons can enjoy it as well.”
Note: Makes 6 to 8 servings, to be served over rice.
3 lbs hanger or skirt steak, excess fat trimmed
3 tbsps olive oil
1 small red onion, sliced
1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into ½” wide slices
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsps kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 cups Chicken Stock (see recipe below)
½ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
2 scallions, cut into ¼- to ½-inch pieces
3 tbsps red wine vinegar
Slice the hanger steak into thin 3″ long strips of about ⅛” thickness, or slice the skirt steak against the grain into 1″ wide strips that are 3″ in length.
Heat the oil in a 12” skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the tomato paste, beef, salt and pepper and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, until the beef is very tender but not falling apart, about 2 hours. If the dish gets too dry, add up to ½ cup water at a time, but no more—you don’t want it to be soupy. (The beef can be cooked to this point up to a day ahead, cooled, covered and refrigerated. You may need to add water when reheating.)
Add the cilantro and scallions and cook for 10 minutes. Add the vinegar and cook for 5 minutes longer, then serve.
Yield: Makes 3 quarts
5 lbs chicken bones, rinsed well under cold water
3 celery stalks, quartered
2 medium carrots, quartered (2½ cups)
1 large onion, coarsely chopped (2½ cups)
1 large parsnip, peeled and coarsely chopped (1½ cups)
¼ cup fresh Italian parsley sprigs
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
10 whole black peppercorns
Combine all the ingredients in a large pot, add 4 quarts water, and slowly bring to a boil over medium heat. Skim off the foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat and simmer very gently, uncovered, for 4 hours, skimming the surface every 30 minutes or so. Add more hot water if the level gets too low.
Strain the stock through a colander and then through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl or other container. (The stock can be refrigerated, tightly covered, for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Skim any hardened fats from the surface before using.)
(Reproduced from FAMILY TABLE, © 2013 by USHG, LLC, and Karen Stabiner. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.)