As the weather starts to cool, hearty, soupy stews come to mind. That's a good thing. Getting stuck in a rut, however, is not. That's why it's nice to switch things up—in this case with a smoky, Spanish-tinged take on beef stew, one that incorporates piquillo peppers and warming pimentón.
I like to cook this version slow and low. It can even be done in the oven overnight, cooled and refrigerated until you're ready to reheat and serve. The flavors will only strengthen. If you want to skip the meat-browning stage, feel free. It'll be tasty just the same, only you should expect a little less depth in the end result.
By finishing it with a dollop of tangy sour cream, the stew hits all the right notes.
- Yield:Serves 4 to 6
- Active time: 20 minutes
- Total time:4 1/2 hours
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds beef stew meat or brisket, trimmed of silverskin and gristle removed and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 3 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 12-ounce jar of piquillo or roasted red peppers, drained
- 12 baby carrots or 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into rough chunks
- 8 ounces button mushrooms, quartered if large
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked Spanish paprika
- 1 cup dry red wine, such as Rioja
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 2 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt, for garnishing
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 275°F. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over high heat until smoking. Season beef with salt and pepper. Add beef to pan and cook without moving until well-browned on one side, about 6 minutes. Stir to loosen meat, reduce heat to medium and add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring periodically, until softened, about 7 minutes.
Add peppers, carrots, mushrooms, pimentón, wine, tomatoes, tomato paste, Worcestershire, bay leaves and thyme. Season lightly with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, cover and transfer to oven. Continue cooking until meat is tear-apart-tender when pierced with a fork, about 4 hours.
When stew is done, remove from oven and discard thyme sprigs and bay leaves. If stew is not thick enough, reduce over the stovetop until desired consistency is reached. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cool slightly. Ladle stew into individual bowls garnish with a touch of sour cream. Serve immediately