I made this a couple of nights ago and it is delicious. The almonds and toasted bread and parkey add such an amazing texture and flavour, and the cinnamon and paprika give it an earthy spiciness. Watched it in america's test kitchen and we decided to try it out as soon as our Dutch oven arrived. I'm not a huge fan of white rice and I wasn't feeling like potatoes so I actually served this on top of pasta, inspired by the delicious osso buco I had at a restaurant no too long ago that came on top of papardelle. I didn't have papardelle so used some spiral pasta I had at home.
a couple of things: the onions definitely took longer than 30-40 minutes to caramelise. Especially since the recipe says to 'deeply' caramelise and you have to do that at low enough heat that they don't burn. It ended up taking over an hour but it's worth the wait, and getting impatient and toasting the onions instead of caramelising creates a totally different flavour.
i also bumped up the cinnamon a little bit. Didn't double the amount but did use a bit more than the 1/4 tsp the recipe calls for. I am a huge fan of cinnamon in meat dishes, the flavour is incredible.
also, if you're using coarse salt, definitely be more generous with it than the amounts listed in the recipe. I recommend adding salt to the onions and tomato and paprika mixture. And only adding salt to the mushrooms at the very end because sautéing mushrooms with salt only draws out the water even more.
i also couldn't find any boneless short ribs so I just bought more than the 2.5lbs of meat the recipe calls for. I think I used about 4lbs. I removed about half the bones but left the other half in the stew for flavour.
Finally, if you want the meat so soft it falls off the bone, you want to cook it for longer than the recipe says, perhaps adding a little extra liquid during the last phase.
Catalan-Style Beef Stew with Mushrooms
From America's Test Kitchen Season 13: A Taste of Spain
Remove the woody base of the oyster mushroom stem before cooking. An equal amount of quartered button mushrooms may be substituted for the oyster mushrooms. Serve the stew with boiled or mashed potatoes or rice.
2tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, chopped fine
Kosher salt and pepper
2 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, pulp grated on large holes of box grater, and skins discarded
1teaspoon smoked paprika
1 bay leaf
1 1/2cups dry white wine
1 1/2cups water
1large sprig fresh thyme
1/4teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 1/2pounds boneless beef short ribs, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
1/4cup whole blanched almonds
2tablespoons olive oil
1slice hearty white sandwich bread, crust removed, torn into 1-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, peeled
3tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/2pound oyster mushrooms, trimmed
1teaspoon sherry vinegar
1. FOR THE STEW: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-low heat until shimmering. Add onions, sugar, and ½ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring often, until onions are deeply caramelized, 30 to 40 minutes. Add tomatoes, smoked paprika, and bay leaf; cook, stirring often, until darkened and thick, 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Add wine, water, thyme, and cinnamon to pot, scraping up any browned bits. Season beef with 1½ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon 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, 1½ to 2 hours longer.
3. FOR THE PICADA: While stew is in oven, heat almonds and 1 tablespoon oil in 10-inch 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, stirring often, until toasted, 2 to 4 minutes; transfer to food processor with almonds. Add garlic and process until mixture is finely ground, about 20 seconds, scraping bowl as needed. Transfer mixture to bowl, stir in parsley, and set aside.
4. Return now-empty skillet to medium heat. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. Add mushrooms and ½ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring often, until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to bowl and set aside.
5. Remove bay leaf. Stir picada, mushrooms, and vinegar into stew. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.
TO MAKE AHEAD: Follow recipe through step 2 and refrigerate for up to 3 days. To serve, add 1 cup water and reheat over medium heat. Proceed with step 3.
SHAKING UP STEW STANDARDS
To achieve the supremely beefy and complex flavor profile of Spanish beef stew, we learned a few new tricks—and gave up some long-held notions.
START WITH SOFRITO
A slow-cooked mixture of onions, tomatoes, spices, and herbs—known as sofrito in Spain—forms a flavor-packed base for the stew.
GO FOR WHITE WINE
We typically use red wine in beef stew. Here, we agreed with Spanish cooks that red wine *competes with beefy flavor, so we reached for white instead.
SWAP THE ROAST FOR RIBS
Most stew recipes (including many of ours) call for chuck-eye roast. Boneless beef short ribs are even beefier-tasting and are easier to break down.
SKIP THE SEAR
By cooking the stew in the oven and leaving the pot *uncovered, any part of the beef not *submerged in liquid can brown, making searing unnecessary.
END WITH PICADA
A mixture of ground toasted bread, almonds, garlic, and *parsley—the picada—stirred in before serving brightens the stew’s flavor and thickens the broth.
eta: oops, should have put this in the recipes subforum. Mods, could you move it please?