Stir the flour, thyme, 1 tsp. salt and ½ tsp. pepper together in a shallow bowl. Turn the cubes of stew meat in the flour to coat well, shake off excess and transfer to a plate.
Heat olive oil in a heavy kettle. Add the beef cubes, a few at a time, and brown them well on all sides. As they are browned, transfer them to paper towels to drain.
When all the meat is browned, discard excess oil but do not wash the kettle. Add the wine, beef stock and crushed tomatoes; set kettle over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Return beef to the kettle, then add cuminseed, chili powder and bay leaf and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cover kettle and set it on the middle rack of the oven. Bake at 350 F. for 1½ hours, stirring occasionally and regulating the oven temperature to maintain the stew at a steady simmer.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cut an "x" in the root end of each pearl onion and drop them into the boiling water for 1 minute. Drain them and drop them into a bowl of cold water. When completely cool, drain and peel them.
After the stew has been in the oven about 1 hour, stir in the onions. Continue to cook the stew, uncovered.
After another 15 minutes, stir in the garlic, ½ cup parsley and the olives. Continue to cook, uncovered, until stew is reduced and thickened to your liking and beef is tender. Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with parsley, and serve immediately.
The authors note that "depending on the rest of the menu, this stew seems Mexican or Mediterranean because it is hearty and intriguingly seasoned with cuminseed..."
with Michael McLaughlin. New York: Workman Publishing Company, Inc., 1982. Pg. 125. ISBN 0-89480-204-6.
Your Beef Stew with Cumin Seed is ready. Bon appetit!
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