Rwandan Beef Stew

Rwandan Beef Stew

For more than five years, my wife Molly has sponsored a child through global aid organization Compassion International. That means she sends money through Compassion each month to benefit the child’s family, corresponds by letter with the child and occasionally sends special gifts via the agency.

Molly’s child, who shares the same birthday in January, lives in the east-central African nation of Rwanda, a country ravaged by war and genocide, even decades after its most well-known time of tragedy. Compassion often shares information about life in Rwanda through its magazine and other materials we receive by mail and online.

In one of Compassion’s magazines, the organization shared a recipe for Rwandan Beef Stew, along with background information that children in Rwanda look forward to times when they can eat roasted goat or beef stew because they don’t often have meat available to eat.

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I decided we should enjoy a Rwandan Beef Stew to think about Molly’s sponsored child, her family and all of the nation’s people who experience life so much differently than we do in the United States. We are blessed to be able to eat meat most every day, and we were especially blessed by Compassion sharing this meal with us as a thank you for our gifts to a child in need halfway around the world.

Here’s how you make the Rwandan Beef Stew.

What You Need:

2 pounds stewing beef (you can use a smaller package)

1 chopped onion

3 large green plantains, sliced

2 tablespoons peanut oil (you can use another oil)

4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 teaspoons salt

1 beef bouillon cube

1 large peeled, de-seeded, coarsely chopped tomato

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

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What You Do:

1. Brown the beef and onions in oil using a heavy, large pot over gentle heat.

2. Add plantain slices that have been rubbed or soaked in lemon juice.

3. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

4. Add the remaining ingredients and enough water to cover.

5. Keep adding water where necessary, cooking until the meat is tender.

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We cooked our stew for almost six hours, and it was delicious! We were amazed how much the plantains tasted just like potatoes after cooking that long! This particular recipe reminded us very much of beef stew we’ve eaten in the Southern United States throughout our lives. It’s amazing how we can find similarities with people and experiences in very different places! All we have to do is open our eyes and try.

Visit compassion.com/sponsor for more information about helping a child in need.

3 Food Books We Love

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Molly and I are both North Carolina natives. Specifically, we each grew up in a separate corner of Gaston County in the western part of the state, her in Cherryville and me in Alexis. We’ve lived our entire lives here, with the exception of about a year total that I spent in Alabama and Florida. I lived in eastern North Carolina for about four years, and together we’ve crossed the state many times, stopping at local restaurants along our journeys.

So, with more than 60 years of combined eating experiences in North Carolina, we know this state’s food well. And we love this state’s food, from barbecue and burgers to homestyle plates and pies. That’s why we also love these books about North Carolina cuisine so much, because their authors share our deep love, appreciation and devotion to the delicious array of food in our home state. They also share our preference to eat at local, one-of-a-kind restaurants when they’re visiting North Carolina’s many great big cities and small towns.

1. Bob Garner’s Book of Barbecue, North Carolina’s Favorite Food, by Bob Garner, published by John F. Blair

Bob Garner loves North Carolina food. That’s evident when you watch his restaurant reviews on UNC-TV’s North Carolina Weekend program, which is where we first discovered Garner several years ago. He particularly appreciates a great plate of Tar Heel barbecue, which is the subject of this book that offers such an interesting overview of North Carolina barbecue history, cooking methods and restaurants across the state.

2. North Carolina’s Roadside Eateries: A Traveler’s Guide to Local Restaurants, Diners, and Barbecue Joints, by D.G. Martin, a Southern Gateways Guide published by the University of North Carolina Press

D.G. Martin’s vast collegiate, military, legal and media experiences have kept him traveling North Carolina over the years, and that has afforded him many opportunities to sample and revisit many of the state’s great local eateries. This book is a fantastic guide to North Carolina restaurants, organized along interstate lines as a companion for pinpointing places to eat when you’re on the road.

3. Tar Heel Traveler Eats: Food Journeys Across North Carolina, by Scott Mason, published by Globe Pequot, an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield

As host of Raleigh-based WRAL-TV’s renowned Tar Heel Traveler segment, Scott Mason has studied North Carolina restaurants and shared them on the screen for years. As a follow-up to his excellent Tar Heel Traveler book, which contains many great dining suggestions of its own, this particular version highlights some of the most unique and outstanding eats North Carolina dishes up.

Have a book on North Carolina food or the cuisine of another Southern U.S. region you think we should read? Comment on this post at FoodieScore.Blog, or send us a quick message here. We never get too full when it comes to great Southern food ideas, especially in our home state!