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Beef and Apricot Stew

1 c Dried apricots
3 lb Flank steak; trimmed, cubed
3 tb Oil or shortening
1 1/2 cups hot water (up to 1)
1 c Diced celery
1 ts Each: salt; ground pepper
1 tb Minced onion
Zest from 1 lemon
1/4 c Each: flour; water
Hot cooked rice


Place apricots in a small bowl and cover with hot water; let soak until plump, about 20 minutes. Drain and reserve.


Heat oil or shortening in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Brown meat, in batches if necessary to prevent crowding. Reduce heat to low. Return all meat and any accumulated juices to pan. Add hot water; simmer, covered, about 2 hours.


Stir in apricots, celery, salt, pepper, onion and lemon zest; simmer, covered, until meat is tender, about 30 minutes. Mix flour with water until smooth; add to stew mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until stew thickens, about 5 minutes. Serve over rice. Note: We added 2 teaspoons fresh thyme along with the other seasonings.


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