| | |

A Hearty and Flavorful Stew: Beef Shanks with Eggplant and Watercress

Beef Shanks with Eggplant and Watercress

Looking for a delicious and satisfying meal that’s easy to prepare? Look no further than this Beef Shanks with Eggplant and Watercress Stew!

This hearty stew has roots in Haitian cuisine, where it’s known as Legim or Haitian Legume. Legim traditionally features various mixed vegetables simmered with meat, often beef. Our recipe offers a twist on the classic Legim by using flavorful beef shanks for an extra decadent experience. You can, of course, substitute your preferred cut of beef for a more traditional Legim preparation.

This dish is a delightful combination of tender beef shanks, savory vegetables, and a touch of peppery watercress. It’s a hearty stew that’s perfect for a comforting dinner on a cool evening.

More Than Just Meat and Potatoes

We all know vegetables are a crucial part of a healthy diet. This recipe is a great example of how to incorporate them into a delicious and satisfying meal. The eggplant and watercress not only add flavor and texture, but also provide essential vitamins and minerals.

Eggplant: Love-Hate Relationship

Eggplant is a versatile ingredient that can be cooked in many ways. However, it can be tricky. Here’s a tip: don’t freeze eggplant! It’s best to buy it fresh for this recipe, where it will be cooked down and mashed, creating a wonderful texture.

Beef Shanks with Eggplant and Watercress
Eggplant and Watercress

Watercress complements eggplant beautifully for a few reasons:

Watercress is a great add-on in salads and stews

1. Flavor Contrast: Eggplant has a mild, slightly bitter flavor. Watercress, on the other hand, boasts a peppery and slightly tangy taste. This contrasting combination creates a dynamic flavor profile in your mouth. The peppery bite of the watercress cuts through the richness of the eggplant, adding a refreshing and lively element.

2. Textural Harmony: While cooked eggplant becomes soft and almost creamy, the watercress retains a delightful crispness. This textural contrast adds a layer of interest to each bite. The soft eggplant melds with the broth, while the watercress pops with a satisfying crunch.

3. Nutritional Synergy: Both watercress and eggplant are packed with nutrients. Watercress is a great source of vitamins A, C, and K, while eggplant is rich in fiber and antioxidants. Together, they contribute to a well-balanced and nutritious dish.

4. Visual Appeal: The bright green color of the watercress adds a vibrant pop against the deep, roasted tones of the eggplant. This visual contrast makes the stew not only delicious but also visually appealing.

Making the Stew

This recipe uses beef shanks, a cut of meat that benefits from slow cooking. The long braising time allows the meat to become wonderfully tender and flavorful. The addition of fresh herbs and spices creates a fragrant marinade that infuses the beef with delicious flavor.

Ingredient Rundown for The Beef Shanks with Eggplant and Watercress:

  • Beef Shanks: The star of the show! These are flavorful cuts of meat from the leg of the cow. They require slow cooking to become melt-in-your-mouth tender, perfect for stews.
  • Lime: A bright citrus fruit that adds a touch of acidity and freshness to the dish.
  • Garlic, Parsley, Thyme: Aromatic powerhouses! These fresh herbs and spice create a fragrant marinade for the beef.
  • Scotch Bonnet Pepper: This fiery pepper brings a kick of heat. Adjust the amount based on your spice preference. You can also substitute with habanero pepper or another hot pepper, or simply use NouBess Hot and Spicy Sauce.
  • Black Pepper & Kosher Salt: Seasoning essentials to enhance the overall flavor.
  • Eggplant: A versatile vegetable with a slightly bitter taste. Cubed and mashed in this recipe, it adds a unique texture and depth.
  • Olive Oil: A healthy fat for cooking the vegetables and adding richness to the stew.
  • Tomato Sauce: Provides a base of tangy tomato flavor.
  • Sweet Peppers: Sliced for pops of sweetness and color.
  • Onions: A classic base vegetable that adds savory depth.
  • Watercress: A leafy green with a peppery bite that complements the other ingredients beautifully.
  • Italian Seasoning: A convenient blend of herbs like oregano, basil, and thyme for added complexity.
Beef Shanks with Eggplant and Watercress
Beef Shanks with Eggplant and Watercress

What to Serve with the Stew

This stew is incredibly versatile! You can serve it with a variety of sides, including:

Ready to Try It?

With its simple ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions, this Beef Shanks with Eggplant and Watercress Stew is a recipe that anyone can master. So grab your ingredients, fire up the stove, and get ready to enjoy a delicious and satisfying meal!

Beef Shanks with Eggplant and Watercress

Beef Shanks with Eggplant and Watercress

Dive into a hearty and flavorful stew! This Beef Shanks with Eggplant and Watercress recipe is a twist on the classic Haitian Legume, featuring tender beef, savory vegetables, and a touch of peppery watercress. It's a perfect comforting meal for a satisfying dinner.
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Caribbean, Haitian Cuisine
Servings 4
Calories 308 kcal


  • 2 lb beef shanks about 2 whole shanks
  • 1 lime
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large eggplant cubed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup unsalted tomato sauce
  • ½ cup sweet peppers sliced
  • 1 cup onions sliced
  • 2 cups watercress cleaned, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • salt to taste
  • ½ teaspoon scotch bonnet peper finely chopped
  • pepper to taste


  • Marinate the Beef: Squeeze the lime and reserve the juice. Scrub the beef shanks with the lime rinds to remove any surface impurities. Rinse the meat under running water, pat it dry, and set aside.
  • Make the Marinade: In a mortar and pestle (or food processor), combine the garlic, parsley, thyme, scotch bonnet pepper (adjust the amount for heat preference), black pepper, and salt. Grind or pulse into a flavorful paste.
  • Marinate the Beef: Combine the spice paste with the reserved lime juice and rub it all over the beef shanks. Place the marinated beef in a container, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, allowing the flavors to develop.
  • Brown the Beef: Heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the marinated beef and cook for 30 to 45 minutes, without adding water. The meat should release its own juices, creating a flavorful base for the stew. If needed, add a very small amount of hot water only if the pot becomes dry.
  • Cook the Eggplant: While the beef simmers, peel and cube the eggplant. In a separate pot, cover the eggplant with water and bring to a boil. Cook until the eggplant is very soft, about 15 minutes. Drain the water (reserve some for later if needed) and mash the eggplant thoroughly. Set aside.
  • Sauté the Vegetables: Once the beef is browned, remove it from the pot and set aside. Add olive oil to the pot and heat over medium heat. Add the tomato sauce and cook for 2-3 minutes, letting the flavors meld.
  • Assemble the Stew: Add the browned beef back to the pot with the tomato sauce. Then, add the sliced peppers, onions, mashed eggplant, and chopped watercress. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
  • Season and Simmer: Add the Italian seasoning, salt, and additional pepper to taste. Cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the meat is cooked through. If the stew seems too thick, you can add a splash of the reserved eggplant cooking water to adjust the consistency.
  • Serve and Enjoy! Serve the delicious Beef Shanks with Eggplant and Watercress Stew hot with rice, or your favorite side dish. Enjoy the comforting flavors and textures in every bite!


  • Don’t Crowd the Pan: When browning the beef, resist the urge to overcrowd the pot. This will prevent the meat from searing properly and will instead steam, resulting in a less flavorful stew. Brown the beef shanks in batches if necessary.
  • Patience is Key: Remember, low and slow is the way to go with this recipe. Be patient during the braising step. The longer the beef shanks cook, the more tender and flavorful they will become.
  • Adjust the Spice: This recipe includes scotch bonnet pepper, which packs a heat. If you prefer a milder stew, reduce the amount of pepper or omit it entirely. You can also substitute with a milder pepper like poblano.
  • Salting: Don’t salt the beef shanks too early in the marinating process, as salt can draw out moisture. Season the meat lightly before browning, and then adjust the overall seasoning of the stew at the end.
  • Eggplant Magic: To prevent the mashed eggplant from turning brown, you can add a squeeze of lemon juice to it after mashing. The acidity in the lemon juice will help preserve the vibrant color.
  • Leftovers: This stew tastes even better the next day! The flavors will have time to meld further, creating an even more delicious experience. Simply reheat on the stovetop over low heat until warmed through.
  • Serving Ideas: Get creative with your sides! Alongside the suggested rice or bulgur wheat, this stew can be enjoyed with mashed potatoes, crusty bread for dipping, or even a bed of cooked quinoa.


Calories: 308kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 33gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 841mgPotassium: 1094mgFiber: 6gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 1471IUVitamin C: 48mgCalcium: 99mgIron: 5mg

Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on the products used.

Keyword beef shanks, Beef Stew, Beef Stew Recipe, easy vegetables dish, eggplant and tomato stew, eggplant recipe, haitian legim, Vegetable Stew, watercress stew
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Tried this recipe?Mention @noubesscaribbean or tag #noubesscaribbean!

Nutrition info is automatically generated and provided as a courtesy and as an estimate only.

Time to stock up your Pantry! Shop Noubess.comCheck out Noubess Shop!

Corn Allergy:

Always choose ingredients without corn or corn derivatives.

Originally published May 26, 2014. Updated and revised.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.