sweet pepper relish beef stew


I apologize for this beef stew not being very photogenic.
My goal, my job, my desire in doing this blog is to share with you all my very best food creations.
And at times there won't be "pretty" photos.
When those times occur I struggle with whether or not I should share it with you.
And then my gut kicks in and says 'share, most definitely share, simply for the fact that it was so tasty, and most people will not care about the photo but how it tastes'.
Truth right?
So this little creation came about when I had some really good, fresh local beef from whole foods sitting in the freezer and absolutely nothing in the fridge or cupboards in which to braise/bake it with.
Until I saw the sweet pepper relish en masse (I always keep 3-4 jars in the cupboard because of my obsession with it tastes good).
Tasty, oh it's tasty, but had I added some parsley to it I think it might have freshened it up a bit photo-wise.
Speaking of parsley, who here has one of those Aero Gardens?
I have wanted to get one for a while, but wasn't sure if it's any good.
I would love to have fresh herbs year-round.
Do you know if the herbs are gmo-free?

If you're looking for an easy, tasty, one-pot beef stew then print out this recipe.
Yes, one pot, ok two if you count the other bowl in which I soaked the beef in Coke beforehand.
I cooked everything in my le creuset pot: sear the beef, add in the rest of the ingredients and cook for a few hours.  Quite easy.  I served the stew over roasted then smashed potatoes.


sweet pepper relish stew
print recipe

1 pound beef stew meat
1 can (12 ounces) of Coke (not diet) for marinating
1-2 TB olive oil
1 envelope dry onion soup mix (from a 2-ounce package)
1/2 cup tomato ketchup (more or less)
1 large onions, slice in long slices
2 whole bay leaves
4-5 TB sweet pepper relish (I used the one from Trader Joe’s)
salt & pepper

Cook notes:  
you might need an extra can (12 ounce) of Coke (use about ½) to add to the pot before or during it’s cooking process. Make sure you use a good, heavy-bottomed pot with a tight fitting lid.

Place beef in a glass or other non-reactive bowl, pour in the coca cola, cover and marinate in fridge for at least 2-3 hours.
After you’re done marinating, remove meat from the Coke marinade; pour the marinade through a sieve and reserve the juices to the side (we will use some of this).
When ready make the stew, heat up a large stockpot (or other heavy-bottom pot with a cover) with the olive oil over medium heat.  Sear the meat quickly, no need to cook through, we just want a sear. Might have to fry in batches.  After done frying, place meat to the side, and add to the pot the onions, cook until browned.
Deglaze the pot with a bit (1/4 – ½ cup or so) of the Coke marinade, just enough to get up all the browned bits on bottom of pan.
Add in the tomato ketchup, then add in the beef, the bay leaves, a few dashes of salt & pepper and mix.  Cook until you have a nice thick sauce and everything is well mixed.  If your stock base is low on liquid just add in more of the reserve marinade or the extra can of Coke on standby.  You don’t need a lot, we don’t want to boil the meat in juices, just enough to cover up the meat. Cover pot and cook on low heat for a couple hours.  The cooking part shouldn’t take long, since we’re using cubes of beef stew.
At the last 15 minutes of cooking, I added in the sweet pepper relish, stirred and let it get nice and thick.  If the beef stew is too thick for your liking, add in a bit of Coke or beef stock to thin it out.
When ready to serve, remove the bay leaves and serve over roasted/smashed potatoes. Or you could serve over rice, sweet potatoes, French fries, butternut squash…..
This made about 3 – 4 servings


  1. This sounds wonderful, and I think it looks wonderful! Sometimes the dishes that are the hardest to photograph are the most delicious + comforting. =)

  2. It looks pretty to me, I'm starving (and cold!). :D

  3. I vote for sharing! The majority of the best food just isn't photogenic...but is still fabulous! Case in point.

  4. I don't know what you're talking about, this looks so good!

  5. There are definitely a lot of delicious foods that just aren't photogenic. This sounds good. Sweet and savory and a little spicy. Perfect.

  6. You're apologizing for that totally scrumptious looking picture? It looks pretty darn fabulous to me. Love this recipe!

  7. Holy moly, this looks delicious. I've never used coke to tenderize meat. I've gotta try this!

  8. This sounds good! Love the hot pepper jelly in there! I find that plenty of garnishes like parsley helps liven up brown stews like this.

  9. I love that hot pepper jelly so much!!! Way to work it into the stew!

  10. Oh yes! You are talking now! I'm having a secret affair with hot pepper jelly!

  11. Re: Friday links:
    Yum on those raspberry cheddar hand pies!
    I make a walnut and stilton cracker, but I like the texture of yours. Will try for sure.
    Liked the tip on high rise biscuits: invert? Never tried that and no doubt I twist too.
    Still laughing over the diaper thing. I remember my third kid (in three years) spent most of his babyhood with a diaper hanging out of his pants. I have photos, unfortunately. (No throw-aways in those days, I actually used a diaper service!)
    Tired of the on again off again Omega 3 battle. First it causes cancer in men (so I stopped taking it, after all, if men get it, why not women? why take the chance?) and now it helps the brain. (So I'll start taking it again, in hopes it's not too late to hold off imminent dimentia.)
    Wheaties? Metal? Huh?

    That is a dark, divine looking stew. Now that everyone's gone, I don't make too many stews. Gaston Stew (from Joy of Cooking) was my MIL's standby for all occasions. I really need to give this a try. Does it taste even better the next day? That's usually the way of it.

  12. Pics can't always be pretty. It's all about the taste! I've always wanted an Aero Garden too, but it's so easy to just buy herbs at the store. Life is complicated enough, I'm okay with the fact that I don't grow my own food or make my own vegetable/chicken/beef stock.

  13. Mighty scrumptious! I love the way you served that stew. Simply perfect.



  14. Your photos are fine. It's flavor that I'm after, and this recipe sure looks like it has loads of it. Great looking recipe! We don't have one of those Aero Gardens, but I've been thinking about it. Rosemary grows well on our windowsill in the winter. Other stuff? Not so much.

  15. Girl, definitely keep sharing these scrumptious meals with us! This looks like one heck of a good time for a stew!

  16. We found a really wonderful pepper jelly at our farmer's market recently. I'm into now their pickled jalapenos...mmm! This stew is so intriguing. I'm craving a bite now! I love that you marinated it in Coke!!

  17. i will support any use of pepper jelly, but this is particularly awesome. :)


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