Picadinho is very popular in Brazil; it is a family dish that can be a good for any day of the week but, when served with the right accompaniments, it can become a meal quite worthy of any special occasion! This recipe isn't very different from any North-American stew; I can assure you it is Brazilian however, it is easy to make, and it has the benefit of being also appreciated by children; one important idea though, with beef cubes all cubes aren’t created equal - depending what you want to achieve (everyday dish or special dinner), it is important to choose a good meat cut. To save work, you can ask the butcher to cut the meat in cubes for you.
Serve with farofa, brown rice and freshly baked and steamed vegetables.
Yield: 4-6 servings
Brazilian Beef Stew
* 2 and 1/2 lb. (1 kg.) beef, cut in 1/2 inch cubes (1 cm.) (I used the tip of filet mignon, but you can also use rump or sirloin - tougher cuts will require longer cooking time)
* 1 cup of homemade broth
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 15 miniature onions, peeled
* 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
* salt and pepper to taste
* 2 tablespoons fresh herb of your choice (this time I used sage, but rosemary, thyme, savory, parsley or chives are also great for this dish)
1) Melt the butter in a thick-bottomed saucepan over high heat and saute the miniature onions. When they begin to brown, add garlic while gently mixing. Reserve the onions.
2) When the garlic begins to brown, add the cubed beef and stir well so that every beef cube begins to sear, on all of their 6 faces.
3) When the meat has a brownish tint, add the broth, put back the onions, season with salt and pepper - it's really difficult to suggest an exact measurement for salt and pepper, after each like in a way. Add salt and pepper little by little, until you get the desired taste, remembering it is always better to season less than too much!
4) Stir well, cover the pan and reduce the heat. Simmer for about 30 minutes to 1 hour and 1/2 (depending on cut of meat), stirring occasionally.
5) The broth should become thicker but we do not want it to dry - the meat needs a bit of sauce. If you notice the broth has dried during this process, add more broth.
Stir gently one last time, turn off the heat and sprinkle the herbs. Cover, let stand a few minutes and serve immediately.