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If you’re looking for new vegetable beef stews to try, this Lebanese inspired Peas and Carrots Stew (which we call Bazella w Riz – translates to peas and rice is hearty, nutritious and utterly comforting. It uses a classic base of making stew in the Middle East that can easily be adapted with any vegetables you’d like. This is one traditional recipe that I make at least once a month.
What is stew?
First, if you’re looking for a stew definition and wondering what’s the difference between soup and stew, you’re not alone. The two are very similar to each other in their concept of cooking vegetables with meat or seafood in a liquid or broth. It’s defined simply as cooking food by simmering or slow-boiling.
However, the main difference is the amount of liquid used. Stews use less liquid and so they’ll have a more hearty and thick consistency as compared to soups. And for that reason, they’re often times served on top of mashed potatoes or rice. We serve our stews on top of Lebanese Rice. This stew is an Arabic style of stew that we call yakhneh.
How to make peas and carrots stew (bazella)
Start by heating the olive oil and searing the beef. You want to make sure that it gets brown and caramelized slightly. This is the key to adding all the flavor in a beef stew. Once the beef is cooked, remove it from the pot and set aside. Add the onions (if using), garlic and chopped cilantro and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Now, add the tomato sauce, water (or chicken broth) to the saucepan and season it with the 7 Spice (a mediterranean blend of warm spices). Deglaze the pan and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and add the peas. I generally use frozen peas, but you can use fresh peas or drained/rinsed canned peas.
Now you’ll add in some carrots (I sometimes use frozen ones as well to make the recipe quicker). Then return the beef back to the saucepan. Allow the vegetable beef stew to simmer on low covered for at least 30 minutes. The flavor gets even better after 45 minutes.
After 30 minutes, the sauce will reduce almost by half and you can then ladle the stew into individual bowls. Now you’re ready to eat it on its own, but it’s very traditional for us to eat it with Lebanese Rice. You can serve it with any type of rice you’d like, or quinoa, couscous, Bulgur or even cauliflower rice.
Tips to make peas and carrot stew
- Use beef chuck or another tough lean cuts of beef for best results. The tough cuts can handle the long cooking without becoming chewy or melting into the broth. In fact, after simmering for at least 30 minutes, they become even more tender.
- Use a heavy bottomed saute pan for this recipe, they absorb and distribute the heat from the stovetop more evenly, so you don’t get hot spots which can cause burning.
- Sear the beef until a rich brown crust forms. When you sear meat, it caramelizes the natural sugars and amplifies the flavor of the stew. It makes a difference in the taste.
- Use frozen vegetables for convenience. Because the stew is simmering for a while, fresh vegetables are not always necessary here. In fact, vegetables like peas and carrots are frozen at peak ripeness so they have a sweeter taste to them. Plus it’s fuss-free!
Frequently Asked Questions
What do you serve stew with?
Traditional American stew is usually served on its own or sometimes above rice or mashed potatoes. Most stews will have a type of starch, a type of vegetable and beef, which creates a full meal in a bowl. However, we grew up eating stews (yakhneh) with Lebanese Rice, very similar to how curries are enjoyed with rice. For lower carb options, try it with quinoa!
How do you thicken stew?
If you would like your stew a little thicker, at the end of cooking, in a separate bowl mix a tablespoon of cornstarch into one tablespoon of water until combined. Add this paste into the stew and stir and cook for a couple of minutes until it is mixed in. For a more Middle Eastern approach at thickening stew, just add potatoes and rely on the starch from the potatoes to thicken it.
How long does peas and carrots stew keep?
Once you make the stew, let it cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container and it will keep in the fridge for around 4 days. The stew also freezes well, just defrost it in the fridge before reheating on the stovetop.
If you’re feeding a crowd, good news, it doubles (and triples) perfectly, and because it stores so well it’s great for make ahead meals too!
For other similar dishes:
- Beef and Spinach Stew
- Fasulya Stew
- Okra Stew
- Peanut Soup
- Cauliflower Curry
- Easy Butter Chicken
- Red Lentil Curry
- Easy Beef Stew
This stew is such a great comfort food dish, and one I grew up with! I’m sure you are going to love it just as much as we all do! And the great thing about it is that it’s highly adaptable to make it vegetarian, use different vegetables and
If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Peas and Carrots Stew recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!
Peas and Carrots Stew
- 1 pound chuck beef trimmed and cut into inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 teaspoon 7 Spice
- 1 small onion chopped (optional)
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- 2 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- 3 tomatoes diced
- 4 cups water
- 3 cups frozen peas
- 1 cup frozen carrots or 1-2 carrot sticks, chopped
- In a heavy bottomed saute pan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil, then add the beef, season with 7 Spice, salt and pepper. Sear for 5-7 minutes until the meat is browned on the outside. Remove and set aside, keep any oil and juices in the pan.
- In the same pot, add the onions, garlic and cilantro cook for about 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
- Add the tomato sauce and deglaze the pot. Then add fresh tomatoes and 4 cups of boiling water to the pot and bring to a boil. Return the cooked beef to the pot along with peas and carrots. Lower heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes until sauce thickens.
- Serve over traditional Arabic rice pilaf and sprinkle fresh cilantro for garnish.
- Instead of tomato sauce, you can use canned diced tomatoes or 6 ounces of tomato paste with 2 cups of water.
- Instead of 7 Spice, you can substitute any mix of paprika, cumin, coriander, ground cloves, nutmeg, cardamom and cinnamon
- To make it vegan, just leave the beef out. You can add other vegetables like potatoes, cauliflower, eggplant or zucchini.