Karni Stoba: Caribbean Beef Stew

6 servings
3 hr 10 min

Protein: Beef

White bowl with Caribbean Karni Stoba.

My first experience with Karni Stoba was during a recent cruise to the ABC islands last year. While I was island hopping trying to find the Southern Caribbean's best Keshi Yena, my wife decided to try something different and ordered a bowl of Caribbean Karni Stoba. This Caribbean beef stew ended up being one of our favorite dishes of the entire trip.

Willemstad, Curacao

What is Karni Stoba?

Curacao's famous Karni stoba.

Karni Stoba is a beef stew famous in the islands of the Dutch Antilles, but especially popular on the Dutch island of Curacao. The Caribbean stew consists of tender beef in a savory broth, with root vegetables, and a hint of spice from the addition of Scotch Bonnet peppers.

Looking for more of the best soup, chowder, and stew recipes? Check out some of our favorites:

  • Best Dutch Oven Taco Soup
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  • Fire Roasted Tomato Soup
  • Smoked Salmon Chowder
  • Texas Red Chili with Smoked Chuck Roast

Making Karni Stoba

This easy beef stew recipe is made with easy to find ingredients, and requires very little prep. To make this one pot beef stew you will need soy sauce, garlic, nutmeg, cumin, beef broth, tomato paste, salt and pepper.

Ingredients for Karni Stoba marinade.

You will also need tomato, bell pepper, onion, Scotch bonnet peppers and your choice of root vegetables and potatoes. If you can't find Scotch bonnet peppers, then you can substitute habanero peppers. The peppers add a nice warmth to the Karni Stoba stew, but don't worry it is not overly spicy. Even our kids loved it.

Bell pepper, carrot, tomato, potatoes and Scotch Bonnet peppers on a counter.

Prepare the marinade for the beef by combining the soy sauce, minced garlic, salt, pepper, nutmeg, cumin, and ¼ cup of beef broth in a bowl and mix to combine.

Marinade for Caribbean beef stew.

What is the best cut of beef for stew?

When it comes to the best cut of beef for stew, cuts taken from the shoulder or chuck are often the best for stew. They contain the perfect amount of fat and connective tissue for slow simmering to tender perfection. Bottom round, brisket, and short ribs also work well for stew.

Package of cubed beef for stew.

Cube your stew meat into roughly 1-inch cubes. Remove any large pieces of fat of connective tissue.

Cubed beef for stew.

Add the stew meat to the bowl with the beef marinade. Cover and let sit while you prepare the rest of the Karni Stoba. For a stronger flavor you can marinade overnight in the refrigerator.

Marinated beef for Karni Stoba.

Dice the onion and tomato and cube the carrots, bell pepper and potatoes. We recommend using red, yellow, or Yukon gold potatoes for stew, as they have less starch and hold up better to the prolonged cooking. Starchy potatoes, like Russet tend to get mushy with prolonged cooking.

Diced tomatoes, onion, bell peppers, carrots, and potatoes on a cutting board,

Cooking the Southern Caribbean Beef Stew

Heat a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over medium heat and add a couple tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter. Remove the marinated beef with a slotted spoon, leaving behind as much liquid as possible, and brown the beef. Reserve the marinade.

Stew beef browning in a Dutch oven.

Once the stew meat is evenly browned, add the onions and bell peppers and cook for about 1-2 minutes.

Vegetables added to stewed beef in a Dutch oven.

Next, add in the remaining beef broth, tomato paste, reserved marinade, and your remaining veggies and potatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

Beef broth and tomato paste on a countertop.

Partially cover the pot or Dutch oven and simmer the Karni Stoba for 2-3 hours, until the beef is tender, and the sauce has thickened.

Caribbean Karni Stoba cooking in a Dutch oven.

Serving the Karni Stoba

Serve the Antillean Karni Stoba warm. Remove the Scotch bonnet peppers before serving. If desired top with a little fresh arugula or serve with some sliced papaya.

White bowl filled with Karni Stoba.

For a spicier version of the Caribbean beef stew, you can finely dice the Scotch bonnet peppers and return to the stew.

White bowl with Caribbean Beef Stew.

For more great Island cuisine be sure to check out some of our favorite Caribbean inspired recipes:

  • Mahi Mahi Tacos with Chipotle Crema and Mango Salsa
  • Grilled Jamaican Jerk Chicken
  • Kalua Pork: Hawaiian Pulled Pork
  • Jamaican Style Cast Iron Oxtail Stew
  • Keshi Yena: Aruban Meat Stuffed Cheese
  • Roasted Chicken and Shrimp Curry Stuffed Coconuts
  • Smoked Pernil- Puerto Rican Roast Pork Shoulder
  • Puerto Rican Arroz Con Gandules: Rice with Pigeon Peas
A bowl of Karni stoba, a beef stew famous in the Dutch Antilles.

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📖 Recipe

Karni Stoba: Caribbean Beef Stew
Recipe details
  • 6  servings
  • Prep time: 10 Minutes Cook time: 3 Hours Total time: 3 hr 10 min
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For the Stew
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1.5 Pounds Stew Meat
  • 1-2 Carrots Cubed
  • 4-5 Yellow or Red Potatoes Cubed
  • 1 Onion Diced
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper Cubed
  • 1 Tomato Diced
  • 16 Ounce Beef Broth
  • 2 Scotch Bonnet Peppers
  • 1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 3 Garlic Cloves Minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg

Combine the soy sauce, cumin, garlic, salt, pepper, and nutmeg with about ¼ cup of the beef broth and mix to combine.
Add the cubed stew meat to the marinade and mix well. Cover and marinade while you prepare the rest of the dish, or overnight.
Prep the potatoes and veggies by dicing the onion and tomato and cutting the bell pepper, carrot, and potatoes into large chunks. Leave the Scotch Bonnet peppers whole.
Heat a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and butter. When the butter is melted, remove the meat from the marinade with a slotted spoon and add to the Dutch oven. Reserve the marinade.
Once the meat is browned on all sides, add in the onion and bell pepper and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
Add reserved marinade, remaining beef broth, carrot, potatoes, Scotch Bonnet peppers, tomato paste, and tomato. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer the stew, partially covered, for 2-3 hours until the meat is tender and the sauce has thickened. Stir occasionally.
Taste the stew and add additional salt and pepper to taste.
Chris Gipson | Carne Diem
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