Catalan Beef Stew


Munch Munch

Craving a slow cooked beef stew with less effort than a Julia Child recipe I came across this on the site. The orange zest, dark choc and cinnamon really seemed like a fantastic combination and a nice twist on your typical savoury slow cook options. Also it’s almost a one pot stew so it all ends up in your casserole dish. 

The only thing I’ll do differently is instead of nicking the boyfriend’s last glass of Beaujolais I’ll pour in a red wine with more body to add a little more depth to the sauce. I served this with mashed potatoes, next time I will try quinoa cooked in a little beef stock/water combo for something different. I also did most of the cooking the day before. Read through the recipe and you’ll see why as the Taste site suggested chilling for 6 hours, I just thought it easier to do overnight.


Serves 4

  • 250g  pancetta, coarsely chopped
  • extra virgin olive oil, to brown meats and onions
  • 2kg rump, roughly cut into 2cm pieces
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 brown onions, halved, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves,  chopped
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 1 cup red wine, I reckon a shiraz or heavy blend would work best
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, lightly crushed
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 strips orange peel
  • 30g good-quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • Fresh continental parsley, to serve
  • Extra orange zest to make it look pretty, but think about prawn tails when you go to eat the stew just pop them to side of your plate

Preheat oven to 160°C.

Heat your casserole dish over high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a  bowl.

Pour in a little of the oil and add one-quarter of the beef and cook until brown on the outside. Transfer to the bowl with the pancetta. Repeat, in 3 more batches, with the remaining beef. When I stirred the beef occasionally I use a chunk to help remove the caremelised oil on the sides of the dish, this way it wouldn’t build too much in thickness, thus preventing burnage in the oven later.

Add the vinegar to the dish and cook, stirring to dislodge any bits that have cooked on to the base, for 1-2 minutes. Pour over the beef mixture.

Heat some more oil in the dish over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft.

Add the beef mixture back to the dish with the onions, stock, wine, tomato paste, cinnamon, thyme, orange peel and chocolate. Lay a piece of foil just over the top of the sauce and cover with the lid. Bring to the boil. Bake in oven for 2 hours or until the beef is tender. Keeping an eye on it to make sure your gravy doesn’t disappear.

Set aside for 15 minutes to cool. Place in fridge to chill. I actually cooked this Sunday afternoon, so my stew infused overnight, it meant come Monday after work most of the cooking was done.

An hour before you’re ready to eat preheat oven to 160°C.

Use a spoon to remove any fat from the surface of the stew.

Turn the stove onto a low heat and warm the stew, stirring, until it is sauce again. Cover with foil again and lid and bake in oven for 45-50 minutes or until the meat is tender and the sauce thickens.

Ladle to stew onto a bed of mash/quinoa/polenta and sprinkle the stew with parsley and orange zest to serve.

Feel free to comment on this post or ask any questions about the recipe!

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