Turkish Dana Etli Güveç Slow Cooked Beef & Vegetable Stew
Updated: Apr 24, 2018
The calendar says it has just turned to spring, but here in New England, you would never know it. Winter still has us in its icy clutches, and as I sit here writing, there is a foot of snow in my yard as yet another big storm brings its icy payload to visit. While I desperately long for Spring and Summer's lighter foods, the current conditions are encouraging me more towards hearty comfort foods. Growing up, this would be the weather my mother would use as an excuse to make her beef stew. Today, we’re having a Turkish variety of beef stew called a güveç.
All around the Eastern Mediterranean, you will find stews and casseroles made from local, seasonal ingredients. In the Balkan countries, the variation “duvec” is used more commonly. Güveç gets its name from the earthenware pot it is traditionally cooked in, which is also called a güveç. It typically consists of vegetables, meat, and a pepper based seasoning. Although it is often compared to ratatouille, I find that güveç is more similar to the daube from Provence. Both are traditionally slow cooked in an earthenware pot, contain little added liquid (typically wine with a daube), and are ideal for tougher cuts of meat.
A güveç is a hardy one pot meal that easily adapts to the modern kitchen.
Having made many beef stews before, I am intrigued to try this variety. The recipe we’re using today is an adaptation from the wonderful cookbook Istanbul and Beyond by Robyn Eckhardt. I’ve not yet used any eggplant in a beef stew (not a big fan of eggplant), but I’m willing to give it a go here. Also, on the other hand, I love shredding carrots into a dishes that will cook long and slow. The shredded carrot practically melts entirely away but adds an underlying sweetness that really deepens the flavor in dish.
I found almost all of the ingredients here at my local supermarket, with one exception. I got the Turkish Pepper Paste at a local halal market that specializes in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern products. Given more time, pepper paste can be made easily at home (look for a step by step here soon), but the jarred variety was fine. You can substitute tomato paste, making everything available at one market, but I think you really sacrifice a depth of flavor in doing so. I highly recommend you seek out the Turkish Pepper paste.
Biber Salçasi is a Turkish red pepper paste that is available in sweet and hot varieties
I’m looking for my stew to cook all day, so I want to lengthen the cooking time called for in the original recipe. That means that I’ll need to drop the temperature, and go for more of a ‘low and slow’ approach. Also, I’ll want to cover it, or it will completely cook off all the liquid. I’ve cooked this is my cast iron dutch oven in the oven but you could also easily prepare güveç in a crock pot, with equally as satisfying results! Enjoy!
Dana Etli Güveç: Slow Cooked Beef & Vegetable Stew
2 cups beef stock
½ cup Biber Salçasi -- Turkish Red Pepper Paste -- sweet or hot to taste
1 TSP Smoked Paprika
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
2½ lbs beef chuck, cut into 1½” cubes
1 large onion, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small carrot, peeled and finely shredded
3 large tomatoes, cut into wedges
2 large mild green chilis such as anaheim or poblano, seeded and large dice
1 large green bell pepper, seeded, and large diced
2 medium eggplants cubed, approximately same size as beef pieces
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 300F
In a large bowl, add the Beef stock, Turkish Red Pepper Paste, Paprika, sugar and salt and whisk to combine
Layer beef cubes on the bottom of a 5 qt dutch oven
Cover the beef with the onions, garlic and carrots
Add the tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant
Pour the pepper paste mixture over the top, but do not stir
Cover and place in the oven for 4 - 5 hours, until the meat is tender.
Remove from oven, uncover, stir and bring to a simmer on the stove top for 30 minutes to help reduce the liquid and to allow flavors to combine
Add salt and pepper to taste to adjust final seasoning and