Monday, September 1, 2014

Delicious axoa--Basque veal stew

We brought back some powdered 'piment d'Espelette', or Espelette chilli pepper from the Basque country--in fact, from the small town of Espelette itself--and this week we had the first dish flavoured with it: a deliciously tender and flavourful axoa, or Basque veal stew. The piment d'Espelette powder, with its rich, full flavour, like the very best paprika ever, really comes into its own in a dish like this, which is cooked slowly and is most satisfying in winter.
And it's pretty easy too!Watch out though you don't overdo the piment d'Espelette--it's best enjoyed in sparing amounts, to get the full flavour and just a hint of heat.
You need: veal steaks or roast, cut into pieces--quantity depends on how many people will eat it! Chopped onions. Capsicums(red peppers) either fresh or chargrilled preserves in olive oil. (We used the latter, as it is even more delicious than with the fresh ones). If you like, you can use green capsicums too. One half teaspoon of powdered piment d'Espelette--(there are places you can get it from in Australia, such as Herbie's Spices online) or you can also use good paprika. Olive oil. Chicken stock. Salt, pepper.
Fry the pieces of meat gently on both sides. Remove from pan and keep on a plate. Fry the chopped onions and the capsicum till the onion is golden and the capsicum if fresh, is soft(you only need to do this a bit if using the preserved kind.)Then put the meat back in. Stir well together. Add salt and pepper. Add the piment d'Espelette/paprika. Stir well, and cook for a few minutes before adding the chicken stock to cover. Simmer over low heat for about an hour, or till the meat is tender. You can also add parboiled potatoes and carrots to the dish if you like. Axoa is also often traditionally served with rice.

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