Part of the fun of travelling is sampling authentic local cuisines. Here are just 4 iconic beef dishes from around the world that you can easily adapt when you get home.
Chili con carne
There are endless variations on this classic beef dish, so it’s easy to experiment using local ingredients or those that are in season. The base is always made with finely chopped beef, hot chilis, seasonings to taste, and water. Traditionalists may balk at the idea of adding beans or tomatoes, but this versatile base lends itself to a wide range of interpretations. Coffee and even chocolate are sometimes added to deepen the flavor. So – go right ahead and experiment! The stew can be eaten with potatoes, rice, or even used, in true Tex-Mex style, as a delicious filling for tacos!
Fun fact: chili con carne, so often thought of as the iconic Mexican dish, was created in the USA.
Japanese beef stew
Although perhaps more famous for sushi than beef stew Japanese cuisine features several delicious hot beef dishes, which are easy to adapt and prepare at home. The secret is to use cubes of succulent and exclusive Wagyu beef. This recipe calls for mirin, a sweetish rice wine that imparts a little acidity to balance the richness of the stew as well as an umami flavor. It can be sourced in most Asian food stores. The easy preparation takes just over an hour, so for an unexpected and luxurious dish with a real wow factor, this is one to try.
Popular since it first appeared in mid-19th century Russia, Beef Stroganoff was invented by a chef working for the Stroganoff family, who was undoubtedly influenced by French cuisine. Cubes of beef are floured, sautéed, then cooked in a sauce of stock, mustard, and sour cream. As with Chili con Carne, every chef can create their own versions, adding porcini mushrooms, perhaps some crème Fraiche or some wine, and serving over noodles, rice, or mashed potatoes.
Kalogeros is a classic dish from the Greek island of Naxos. It’s made with beef chunks baked with a rich and delicious combination of eggplants, tomatoes, and cinnamon. If you can’t get hold of traditional Xinomyzithra and Graviera cheeses, simply use feta and hard yellow cheese as substitutes. Making the stew isn’t complicated. Sliced eggplants are fried, the beef placed on top, followed by the soft cheese, tomato slices, and the hard cheese. The top is dusted with cinnamon, and the dish is baked until the cheese topping has melted. Typically served with fried potatoes, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t adapt it according to your taste and the ingredients you have available.
You’ll discover countless other iconic beef dishes around the world, Not only stews, but also the fabulous steaks, wonderful beef sandwiches, and succulent roasts. Beef is a fantastic and versatile ingredient, so when, on your travels, you come across an amazing new dish, be sure to take the recipe home with you and create your very own signature dish to remind you of your trip.