Azu (Turkic meat and potato stew)

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This is my dad’s specialty – a meat and potato stew-like dish of Turkic origin. He has like 2 things in his repertoire (this Azu and a seafood stew) so it’s always a treat. The meat cooks for 6+ hours until it melts in your mouth. The pickles add a nice sour fresh bite and the raisins round it out with some sweetness. A perfect dish on a cold winter day! Open-mouthed smile

Ingredients (makes 6-8 servings)

  • 1.75 lbs stew meat, cut into 2” chunks
  • 2-2.5 lbs potatoes
  • 1/2 lb pickles
  • 3 oz tomato paste
  • 1/2 can crushed tomatoes (approx. 7 oz)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • salt, pepper, sugar to taste
  • oil for frying

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1. Quickly brown beef over medium-high heat. Do not cook through.

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It will release some moisture. That’s ok – reserve it.

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*I had some errands to run the day I was making it so I decided to make this slow cooker-friendly. If you don’t have a slow cooker, your meat may cook a bit faster, just check its texture every hour or so.

2. Transfer meat into crockpot.

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Add beef, chicken or vegetable broth (I used water + a vegetable bouillon cubes) just until half-way covered (see below), not soupy.

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Set it on HIGH for 3 hours. Go out shopping or meet a friend for lunch… I may have done that Winking smile

3. Brown potatoes over medium-high.

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Cut up pickles into bite-sized pieces.

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4. After 3 hours, check on the meat. It should be soft but not yet falling apart. If this is where it’s at, you’re ready for the next step… otherwise, give it another hour on HIGH.

5. Add tomato paste…

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… and potatoes

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Set on HIGH for another 2 hours.

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6. Check on potatoes and meat for doneness. Are they nice and soft; was the liquid nearly fully absorbed by the meat and potatoes? If you’re there, the finish line is getting close! Otherwise, give it a bit more time.

Add raisins…

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… crushed tomatoes…

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… and pickles.

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Mix and cook on HIGH for another 15 minutes… and then you’re done!! Party smile

The final product:

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… a little prettier in a bowl Winking smile

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Mmm, totally worth the wait! :mrgreen:

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So warm and comforting. What kind of dishes do you crave in the winter?

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