Braised Beef Stew with Okra and Smoked Sausage

The author first sampled this Bahian dish, a gumbolike stew, at a restaurant near Salvador. In it, tender hunks of dried beef, beef chuck, and a smoked sausage called calabreza are simmered with okra. If you can't find dried beef, replace it with an equivalent amount of beef chuck, but don't soak it.

Braised Beef Stew with Okra and Smoked Sausage
In this gumbolike stew, tender hunks of dried beef, beef chuck, and a smoked sausage called calabreza are simmered with okra.
Yield: serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. dried beef, preferably Brazilian-style carne seca or tasajo, rinsed and cut into 1 1⁄2" pieces
  • 1 12 lb. okra, stemmed and cut into 1" rounds
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 3 12 lb. beef chuck, cut into 1 1⁄2" chunks
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 14 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 14 cup chopped mint leaves
  • 2 tbsp. tomato sauce
  • 1 lb. smoked pork sausage, such as Portuguese calabreza or kielbasa, cut into 1⁄2" rounds
  • Toasted farinha de mandioca (yuca flour), optional

Instructions

  1. Put dried beef into a large bowl, add enough water to cover by 4", and set aside to let soak for 6 hours, changing the water every hour or so. Drain beef and set aside.
  2. Toss okra with lime juice; set aside. Season chuck with pepper; set aside. Heat oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Add half the chuck; cook, stirring, until browned, 12–14 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer beef to a plate. Repeat. Add garlic; cook until fragrant, 15–20 seconds. Reduce heat to medium; add onions and peppers. Cook until caramelized, 8–10 minutes. Add cilantro, mint, and tomato sauce; cook until herbs are no longer raw, about 2 minutes. Add reserved dried beef and beef chuck and 1 quart water; stir. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, until beef is tender, about 1 hour. Add sausage; cook, covered, until beef is very tender, 45 minutes. Stir in reserved okra and lime juice. Cook, uncovered, stirring often, until okra is falling apart, about 45 minutes more. Serve over rice, sprinkled with a bit of yuca flour, and Bahian Salsa, if you like.