Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Catalan-Style Beef Stew with Mushrooms

Sunday evening I was dorking out and watching the local station that was showing some cooking shows. They were featuring this beef stew that looked really good and a little different from my usual recipe. Now that the weather is cool enough to not worry about sweating all over the place when using the oven I was excited to try this recipe. And yes, over the summer I really did sweat while cooking on a number of ocasions. Gross! Anyways, this is a great stew and I think it's my favorite that I've ever made.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, pulp grated on large holes and pulps discarded
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 large sprig fresh thyme
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 lbs beef short ribs
  • 1/4 cup whole blanched almonds
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 slice hearty white sandwich bread, crust removed, torn into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 lb oyster mushrooms, trimmed
  • tsp sherry vinegar 
  • For the stew: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 
  • Heat oil in dutch oven over medium-low heat until shimmering. Add onions, sugar, 1/2 tsp salt; cook, stirring often, until onions are deeply carmelized, 30 to 40 minutes. Add tomatoes, smoked paprika, and bay leaf; cook, stirring often, until darkened and thick, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Add wine, water, thyme, and cinnamon to pot, scraping up any browned bits. Season beef with 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper and add to pot. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Transfer to oven and cook, uncovered. After 1 hour stir stew to redistribute meat, return to oven, and continue to cook uncovered until meat is tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours longer. 
  • For the picada:
  • While stew is in the oven, heat almonds and 1 tbsp oil in skillet over medium heat; cook, stirring often, until almonds are golden brown 3 to 6 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer almonds to food processor. 
  • Return now-empty skillet to medium heat, add bread and cook until toasted, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to food processor with almonds.
  • Add garlic and process until mixture is finely ground. Transfer mixture to bowl, stir in parsley and set aside.
  • Return now-empty skillet to medium heat. Heat remaining 1 tbsp oil. Add mushrooms and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook, stirring often until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to bowl and set aside. 
  • Remove bay leaf from stew, add picada, mushrooms and vinegar into stew. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with some crusty bread.  

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