Many years ago, on a tour of the UN building in New York, I bought a world cookbook for Mum which had a recipe for each member country.  This recipe pre-dates the purchase of the cookbook and I have never understood why she called it Latvian Beef but she did so that’s what we call it. Mum never went to Latvia and didn’t know anyone from Latvia.  As she is no longer with us, this is a mystery that will never be solved.  

A word of warning.  Whilst it tastes lovely, this recipe is not a looker.  I have been unable to find a way to make it look less beige/brown so it will have to remain the ugly duckling of my repertoire.

If you can find it (I would not make it unless you  really want to), serve with spaetzle, a wonderful Eastern European dumpling/pasta substitute.  I used to buy spaetzle in Australia and in Budapest but have never seen it in the shops in the UK.  Otherwise, long grain rice is completely fine.

Latvian beef


  • 500g stewing beef, cut into cubes
  • 1.5 lt beef stock
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • ½  tsp dried parsley
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Bunch of baby spinach
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Nutmeg
  • Cooking oil


  1. Soften the onion in a pot (do not let them get crisp) then add the beef and brown it off.  Pour over enough stock to cover the meat, and add the Worcestershire sauce and dried parsley.  Simmer on a low heat for about an hour.   Keep an eye on how much stock is in the pot.  Top it up as needed to make sure the meat continues to simmer.
  2.  Add the rest of the stock and simmer for another hour. Keep doing this until the meat is so soft that it breaks apart with a fork.  I usually give it 2 hours.
  3. When there is enough stock left to make a decent amount of sauce for the meat, add a tablespoon of flour to thicken it.
  4. When you are ready to serve, stir through the spinach and about 2 tablespoons of sour cream.  Sprinkle chopped fresh parsley and a small bit of nutmeg over the top.
  5. Serve with rice or, ideally, spaetzle if you can find it.

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