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Kitchen Experiments

I was quite proud of myself this week. It's still cold, and I really wanted to make Bouyon (Haitian Beef Stew). I had been looking for a recipe for quite some time to replicate what I remember getting in my mother's kitchen or from friends. Alas, the internet disappointed me on this one. Perhaps it was a spelling issue, but I couldn't find one single recipe that even came close to what I thought was right. So I decided to wing it.

It was fantastic! To be fair, I have no idea if it comes close to the traditional stew, but it was a fine beef stew either way, so I'm posting it.

Like with any soup or stew, you can probably throw in your favorite vegetables that I didn't list here. The traditional version calls for a few root vegetables that I'm not a fan of (such as malanga and yucca), so I left them out. I had also originally intended to add spinach and bell peppers (which I think is also in the traditional version), but I forgot so they are not included in the recipe.

One of the challenges with trying something new is that I'm never quite sure how it's going to come out, and so I did a lot of tasting as I was making the stew. I did make some adjustments that are not listed below (I ended up adding a little more seasoned salt and black pepper once all the ingredients were in the pot, but I'm not quite sure how much, perhaps a teaspoon of each), and that's the other part with experimentation because it's easier to just throw stuff in the pot as I'm tasting, and I usually forget to stop and measure. As I was making it, the tastes weren't all coming together for me, so I was afraid the final product would be one I didn't want to duplicate. Thankfully, when I finally sat down with a bowl, everything finally came together to a stew I wanted to share. Now, I'll have to go back and try this again and make sure I got it right and I'll adjust in the future if I missed something.

The recipe calls for dumplings, and since that was one of my favorite parts of the stew, I really wanted to include them. I'll be the first to admit that my dumpling-making technique needs help. I ended up making them with 1 cup of flour, 1 teaspoon of seasoned salt, and water (I'm not sure how much. Perhaps about 1/2 cup). I think I can do a better job of creating them, so feel free to go find a dumpling recipe that you like. I may post an update with a more finalized dumpling recipe at a later date.

In the meantime, feel free to use the (mostly finished) recipe below, but you'll definitely want to taste as you go.

Bouyon (Haitian Beef Stew)

Ingredients: 1 pound cubed beef 1/2 lime 3 tablespoons olive oil 3 quarts of water 1 habanero pepper 2 large carrots, chopped 1 celery stalk, chopped 1 potato, peeled and chopped 1 green plantain, peeled and chopped 1/3 white onion, thinly sliced 1 bunch green onions, chopped 1/2 cup chopped parsley 1 tablespoon tomato paste 6 dumplings

Seasonings 1 teaspoon adobo seasoning 1 teaspoon black pepper 1/2 teaspoon Creole Seasoning 2 teaspoons dried basil 1 teaspoon chicken base 1 teaspoon seasoned salt 2 large garlic cloves, minced

Directions: 1. Clean the beef by rubbing the lime over all the meat. Rinse with cold water. 2. Add seasonings and the beef to a soup pot and toss together. Make sure all pieces are evenly covered, and let sit overnight (or at least 3 hours). 3. Brown the beef using the olive oil in the soup pot on high heat for about 5 minutes. 4. Add the water and habanero and cook on high heat for 25 minutes. 5. Add remaining ingredients (except dumplings) and cook for an additional 25 minutes. Stir well. 6. Add dumplings and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

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