Spicy Mexican Beef Stew

This recipe was originally made with edible cacti called nopales. You might be lucky enough to find them in specialist food shops and if so, around 300g to 400g added to the recipe will give it a unique and distinctive taste – but it works just as well without.
Why not try using this tasty stew as filler for tacos?


  • 1kg/2.2 lb stewing beef or stewing steak, cut into bite size chunks
  • 2 tablespoons Carotino oil
  • 400g/14.1 oz chopped tomatoes
  • 350g /12.3 oz French beans
  • 3 tablespoons plain flour
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 large courgette, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill
  • 1 – 2 dried chipotle or jalapeno chillies (according to taste) cut into thin strips
  • 1.5 litres/1.6 quarts beef stock
  • A pinch of sugar
  • Salt and pepper to season


Coat the chunks of beef with the plain flour mixed with salt and pepper according to taste. Heat the Carotino oil in a frying pan, shake off the excess flour and briefly fry the meat in a pan at a high heat. Add the onions and garlic and fry for a further two minutes, reducing the heat slightly and stirring occasionally to avoid burning. Transfer to a larger pan if necessary and add the tomatoes, chillies and a pinch of sugar, before stirring in the stock. Simmer for around one and a half hours until the meat is tender.

Add the French beans and sliced courgette about 15 minutes before the end of cooking time. You could also add a few other vegetables of your choosing, if desired, such as baby carrots or sweet corn. Add these towards the end of the cooking time, allowing sufficient time for them to soften.

Serves 4