Yesterday I began constructing the Catalan Beef Stew I watched the crew of America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) make earlier in the morning. It is a slow recipe, so I didn’t plan on hurrying and didn’t plan on going anywhere. The results today after the 3rd hour in the oven, reheating and finishing were perhaps the single most delicious mixture of condensed beef and mushroom flavor I’ve ever spooned into my mouth. It was f’n fabulous, ungodly delicious, powerfully satisfying, and not nearly enough (so plan on doubling the recipe on their site and doubling my version here.

Stew Components

  • Beef, some sort of slow cooking variety like chuck, or as on ATK, beef short ribs
  • Onions, 2 or 3, I used 3, diced medium
  • Garlic (I put it in the stew, ATK puts it in the picata.
  • Mushrooms, sauté them through in Olive Oil and reserve
  • Roma Tomatoes, 2, grated, sans skin (a cool technique just picked up from ATK)
  • Water, 1.5 cups
  • Wine, Dry white, 1.5 cups
  • Thyme, 1 sprig
  • Bay Leaves, 2

Seasoning

  • 1.5 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 teaspoons salt, 1.5 for the meat
  • 2 teaspoons pepper, 1 for the meat

Picata

  • Old Bread (you do save it don’t you?) toasted and ground fine
  • Blanched Almonds, toasted and ground fine
  • Zucchini chips, dried and ground fine
  • Parsley, finely chopped

Finish

  • Sherry Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.

Cook the onions down over low and slow heat until they’re intensely caramelized, they should be a deep brown.  Add the grated tomatoes, sans skin, the garlic, the seasonings, except those reserved for the meat, and cook until a nice deep brown.

Cube the beef, season with the salt and pepper and add to the stew.  Throw in the Water and the wine and bring to a simmer.  Once a simmer is established, throw it into the preheated oven for an hour (no lid).

After an hour, stir.  Put it all back in the oven for another hour. Realize it’s too late for dinner and package up in a container to refrigerate overnight.

The next day, add another cup of water, put back into the dutch oven, bring to a simmer and throw back into the (preheated again to 300) oven for one last hour.

Make some bread to serve with it (something you’ll probably need to have started well before the second cooking).

When ready, dish it into a bowl, mix in some of the picata and a splash of the sherry vinegar, and enjoy the rich, satisfying explosion of flavor that’s going to knock you over.