Margarita's International Recipes
Westfälischer Pfefferpotthast is a very old and very good Westphalian dish. It's basically stewed beef with onions, lemons and capers. The “pfeffer” in its name refers to all the herbs and spices it's cooked in (which really, are not very many). The flavors are both familiar and pleasing to the western palate, I particularly like the acidity that the lemon juice brought to the stew.
This dish can be made with a variety of beef cuts. The recipe I used called for short ribs, but I decided to use chuck instead, as they had some nice grass-fed chuck at the supermarket. It definitely worked well. Other than that, I didn't make too many other substitutions. I did use oil instead of lard, as I can't make myself cook with the latter. I also used less water and cooked it uncovered for part of the time, as I like reducing my stews. Finally, I didn't drain and wash the capers before I added them; the brine gave the dish a hint of mustardiness.
All in all, I very much enjoyed this dish and given how simple it was to make, I plan to make it again.
- 2 lbs stewing beef, cubed
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp lard or ol
- 3 large yellow onions, sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1 slice rye bread
- 2 tsp capers
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. Grated lemon peel
Salt and pepper the beef cubes.
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef and brown on all sides. Remove using a slotted spoon and set aside. Reduce heat to medium-low, add onions and cook until soft, but not brown. Add the bay leave and cloves. Return beef and drippings to the pot. Cover with water. Bring to a boil, cover the pot, reduce the temperature to low and simmer for an hour. Uncover and keep simmering on low heat for 30 minutes to an hour.
Meanwhile, grind bread slice into bread cumbs.
Using a slotted spoon, remove beef from the pot and set aside. Add the bread crumbs, capers, lemon juice and lemon peel to the pot. Mix well and cook for a couple of minutes. Return beef and drippings to the pot, cook until warm, adjust seasoning and serve.
Adapted from a recipe in Nika Standen Hazelton's The Cooking of Germany
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