Pantry Raiders | Start the year off on a Mediterranean foot


Peppers play a significant role in the Mediterranean diet, providing nutrients such as vitamin C and potassium while also giving meals a fresh boost of flavor. Long touted for its health benefits, the Mediterranean diet has piqued the interest of men and women looking to get healthy. Those who want a meal with a little Mediterranean flare can try the following recipe for “Mediterranean Beef Ragoût” from Judith Finlayson’s “The Healthy Slow Cooker (Second Edition)” (Robert Rose).

Mediterranean Beef Ragoût

Makes 8 servings

2 lbs. trimmed stewing beef, cut into 1-inch cubes and patted dry
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons ground cumin (see note 2 below)
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. grated lemon zest (optional)
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cracked black peppercorns
1 cup beef stock
½ cup dry red wine
1 14-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, including juice
2 bay leaves
2 roasted red bell peppers, thinly sliced, then cut into 1-inch pieces
½ cup sliced pitted green olives
½ cup finely chopped parsley leaves

  1. In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add beef in batches and cook, stirring, adding more oil as necessary, until browned, about 4 minutes per batch. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware as completed.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add onions and garlic to pan and cook, stirring, until onions are softened, about 3 minutes. Add cumin, thyme, lemon zest, if using, salt, and peppercorns and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add beef stock, wine, tomatoes with juice, and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Add to slow cooker and stir well.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours, until mixture is bubbly and beef is tender. Stir in roasted peppers, olives and parsley. Cover and cook on high for 15 minutes, until peppers are heated through. Discard bay leaves.

Photo courtesy MetroCreative

Mediterranean Beef Ragoût