Welcome to Beef Week 2018! This year, we are celebrating beef’s power to make cooking on a tight budget feel easy, tasty, and even luxurious
Credit: Caitlin Bensel; Prop Styling: Kashara Johnson; Food Styling: Robby Melvin

It’s Thursday of Beef Week, and that can only mean one thing—we’re talking about stew meat!

I mean, we’ve touched on ground beef, chuck-eye steaks, and cube steak so far… to discuss anything other than stew meat would be a rude interruption to the natural progression of a budget conscious conversation on beef. That, and I’ve had it on my mind all week, since I scored stew beef for $4.99 a pound on Sunday and used it to make a massive pot of intensely delicious beef stew, which I have been living off of for days.

Is it just me, or does dinner taste significantly better when it doesn’t require dropping $erious dollar$?

Whether your looking to make a classic beef stew or you’re going for a lively twist like our spotlight recipe for today, Moroccan Beef Daube, you’re typically always going to give your stew meat (roughly) the same treatment. First, you’ll lightly dust your pieces of stew meat in all-purpose flour, perhaps mixed with some dried spices; this may seem like a somewhat trivial, and even non-essential step, but it’s key to laying the foundation for a rich, flavorful stew. That light, dry coating on the surface of your beef chunks is going to contribute to the creation of oh-so-flavorful fond (the tasty browned bits in the bottom of your pan) and lend a little thickening power as your cooking liquid simmers into a rich stew.

So, after you’ve dusted the stew beef in flour—because we’ve established how important that is—you’ll brown the pieces on all sides (likely in batches, you do not want to crowd the pan) and then set the beef aside for a sec. While the beef is hanging out to the side, you’re going to add some liquid, probably an acidic element (like wine or vinegar) and stock, to deglaze your pan… because we forreal want all that those aforementioned tasty browned bits have to offer. Now all that’s left to do is return your savory hunks o’ meat to the pot, drop the lid, and let it simmer until the beef is decadently tender (about 80 to 90 minutes). It’s a super straightforward cooking process, utilizing an economical cut of meat, that yields ridiculously tasty results. Not to mention, you can produce a fair amount of (hearty) food with just 2 pounds of stew meat.

In the case of our Moroccan Beef Daube here, toasty spices (cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and turmeric) paired with the beef’s savory richness and a subtle sweetness from butternut squash make this an all-around ideal cold weather comfort food. We finish the Moroccan-inspired dish off with a citrusy herbed yogurt, for a bright and tangy contrast. Served over a bed of rice, this hearty main is perfect for a Super Bowl get-together, or heck, you could probably even swing it for a SOUPer Bowl get-together. The best part is, this recipe is definitely make-ahead friendly and I’d go so far as to say it’s highly advisable that you take advantage of that—because this stuff is going to be exceptionally ready to blow guests’ minds/tastebuds after you give it a night to chill out in the fridge. It’s amazing what a good night’s rest can do.

Be sure to come back tomorrow for more beefy inspiration, and show us your favorite ways to make beef work for your budget by sharing with the hashtag #BeefMyWeek.

By Darcy Lenz and Darcy Lenz