Monday, 13 February 2012

272: Spanish Beef Stew

I've made plenty of stews before, which are lovely for cold days but somehow I was fancying a nice comforting stew and at the same time something a little new and different. Googling for 'spanish beef stew' - I found this: Estofado-andalusian-beef-stew.html and it seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. Although it goes without saying that I adjusted the recipe somewhat.

  • 1,125 grammes stewing beef (I know this is an improbable quantity, but there was some confusion in the butchers), cut into 1/2" cubes
  • Olive oil for frying
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 300gs shallots
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 8 medium carrots, cut lengthwise and then ascross into bite sized bits
  • 5 medium desiree potatoes, cut into 1" cubes
  • 5 tomatoes - roughly chopped
  • 3 peppers - once again, chopped bite sized
  • 1/3rd bottle of portugeese Mourais red (Nice. And it was the closest I had to spanish)
  • Spices: 1/3 teaspoon of saffron - more of this later, 1/2 teaspoon cinamon, 2 1/2 teaspoons paprika, 2 bay leaves, salt and pepper

Clearly there are some spanish influences here - tomatoes and peppers in a stew! - Betty would turn in her grave. First up though, was going to purchase the saffron. It took me quite some finding and there was a choice of just one, even though my Tesco's is a super-carbuncle sized one. Here's what I got:

I was prepared for Saffron to be expensive. It is famously so. What I hadn't realised was that for £3.50 I wouldn't even get enough to register on the scales - not even a gramme! Now that's expensive.

  • Place garlic into medium oven to roast (I'll come back to this)
  • Chop onion, slowly fry and add to a big pan
  • Coat meat in flour and fry on a hot heat until sealed and add to big pan
  • Fry the shallots also, until coloured a little on the outside, again of course adding to the pan
  • Into the pot with all the vegetables.
  • Add wine and then water to cover
  • By this time (~30 miuntes) the garlic should be soft, squeeze out the garlic from it's skins and mix with the other herbs. Again - add to the pot
  • Bring to a slow simmer and continue to simmer it for a couple of hours or longer if you've got time
So at the start this looks like:
Now, this was deeply lovely. Really good. Quite the best thing I've cooked in a while (although the competition is not high). It did though taste mostly of stew; with just a little hint of Spain. If I try this again somehow I need to up the spanish-ness of it. Maybe I just need to purchase a whole gramme of Saffron.

And for anyone worrying that I'm a bit poorly and off my dinner - there's not much stew on that plate - do not fret, that was my attempt at taking a pretty photo. Them lumps were quickly sorted and seconds were much enjoyed.

Peace out.


  1. love your scales (and your stew)... I do't think saffron ever tastes of anything that strong so I wouldn't waste my time... lovely mash though x

  2. the scales are a big step up on my previous Tesco £2.99 value ones! And I confess, much swishy-er than most of my other kitchen toys.

    I can almost hear the tut from here over the peace out.... you are quite right too!

  3. I love a good spanish stew, especially on a chilly day or like recently get unexpected snow.

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