There is a whole lot going on in this recipe and all of it is good. Once the cooking starts it simple to just let go for a while so it’s nice for a busy evening of chores.
- One 2 1/2-pound piece of beef (shoulder meat, tied as a roast, or a piece of chuck, or even brisket—any beef chunk suitable for braising)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon whole fenugreek seeds
- 4 tablespoons olive or canola oil
- One 2-inch cinnamon stick
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups beef or chicken stock
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup coconut milk from a well shaken can
Pat the meat dry and sprinkle lightly with salt and lots of black pepper.
Set a small cast-iron or other heavy frying pan over medium heat. When very hot, sprinkle in the coriander, cumin, fennel, and fenugreek seeds. Stir for 30 seconds or so until the spices just start to emit a roasted aroma. Empty onto a piece of paper towel, and, when cooled off a bit, grind the spices in a clean coffee grinder or crush in a mortar.
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Pour the oil into an ovenproof casserole-type pan and set over medium high heat. When hot, put in the meat and brown on all sides. Remove to a plate. Add the cinnamon, onions, ginger, and garlic. Stir and cook 4 to 5 minutes.
Add the vinegar, stock, cayenne, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and the beef as well as its accumulated juices. Bring to a boil, stirring the sauce. Cover and place in oven. Cook, basting and turning every 20 minutes or so, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until meat is tender. Remove pan from oven. Add the coconut milk, stir, and bring to a simmer before serving.