This Kavardak Beef Stew is delicious beef winter stew that’s common across Russia and across former Soviet countries. It’s especially common in the Central Asian part of Russian and surrounding regions. It’s roots of this recipe seem to come from this region. It’s very popular in Uzbekistan (some call it their national dish) and in Kazakhstan it’s called kuyrdak. The Soviet Union had a great way of uniting different cultural foods across their giant empire.
The word ‘kavardak’ in Russian means ‘shambles’ or ‘mess’, which is where this meal gets its name from. It’s a mess of meat, potatoes, onions and carrots, all mixed up. Kavardak Beef Stew is also know as Kaurdak, Kuurdak, Kuyrdak and Kavurdak. The word kuurdak came from Turkish origin, highlighting some shared common history and cultural ties with Turkey.
Kavardak is really just a classic meat and potato stew, a heart warming comfort food. This reminds me of my childhood, my mum cooking Kavardak Beef Stew with potatoes dug fresh from our garden. Kavardak usually uses chunky carrot pieces, but I don’t like cooked carrots that way. When they’re cut into matchsticks (like for Plov), I think they tend to disappear and let it meat and potatoes be the focus. Of course you can make it any way you prefer.
In future, I might experiment by adding coriander and cumin seeds, but for now, here is mum’s original Kavardak Beef Stew recipe. Using lamb instead of beef is also popular and very delicious! At the end of the day, it’s a basic meat and potato stew, Russian style, or Uzbek style, or Kazakh style. Kavardak Beef Stew is a hearty meal that will definitely hit the spot. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
- 2 carrots sliced into chunky pieces or sliced into match sticks
- 5 potatoes quartered or sliced into thick pieces
- 2 onions sliced in long pieces thinly
- 500g cubed 2" chunks of beef or lamb
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons oil
- salt and pepper
- In a stock pot, heat the oil and brown the beef. Cook until the water releases and cooks away (about 10 minutes). When the water has evaporated, add 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper.
- Add the onions to the meat and sauté until softened. (about 7-8 minutes)
- Mix in the carrots to the meat mixture and sauté until softened. (about 10 minutes)
- Add the potatoes and mix in well.
- Add 2 cups of beef stock or water and 1 bay leaf. The water may not cover the potatoes, that is ok, this is not soup, but a stew. Bring to a boil, cover with a lid. Reduce and simmer for 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft and cooked. Taste and season if necessary.
- Garnish with parsley and serve with crusty bread.