Print Story Catalan Style Beef Stew with Mushrooms
By Gedvondur (Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 02:01:26 PM EST) food, beef, recipes, catalan, paprika (all tags)
I've gotten adventurous in the kitchen, especially considering I can't hardly eat anything right now.  Throat is too small, due to scar tissue, which means lots of soup.  Working on getting that fixed, but in the mean time the menu has had a lot to do with Campbells selection. 

So I've been trying new recipes more or less on my poor wife.  That being said, this one is pretty fricking good.  Full recipe with commentary below.

Modified from:

Serves 4 to 6

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.



2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Kosher salt and pepper
2 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, pulp grated on large holes of box grater, and skins discarded
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 large sprig fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 1/2 pounds boneless beef short ribs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes


1/4 cup whole blanched almonds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 slice hearty white sandwich bread, crust removed, torn into 1-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, peeled
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/2 pound oyster mushrooms, trimmed
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar



Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees.

Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-low heat until shimmering.

Add 2 large onions, chopped fine, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, and ½ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring often, until onions are deeply caramelized, 30 to 40 minutes.

Grate the tomatoes, discard skins, set aside. Do this towards the end of the onion caramelization.

Add tomatoes, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, and bay leaf; cook, stirring often, until darkened and thick, 5 to 10 minutes.

Add 1 1/2 cups dry white wine, 1 1/2 cups water, 1 sprig thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon to pot, scraping up any browned bits.

Cut up beef into 1 inch cubes and 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.


Prepare the picada when the stew is finished but still in the oven.

Heat 1/4 cup whole blanched 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 skillet to medium heat (there’s remaining oil in there and that’s ideal), add 1 slice hearty white sandwich bread, crust removed, torn into 1-inch pieces, and cook, stirring often, until toasted, 2 to 4 minutes; transfer to food processor with almonds.

Add 2 garlic cloves, peeled, to the food processor and process until mixture is finely ground, about 20 seconds, scraping bowl as needed.

Transfer mixture to bowl, stir in 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, and set aside.

Return now-empty skillet to medium heat. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering.

Add 1/2 pound oyster mushrooms, trimmed, and ½ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring often, until tender, 5 to 7 minutes.

Transfer to bowl and set aside.

Take stew from the oven

Remove bay leaf and thyme (if you can find the thyme, it may have disintegrated)

Stir picada, mushrooms, and 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar into stew. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


One of the things you might notice about this recipe is that you do not brown the meat. Because you cook it uncovered, the meat bobs to the top and browns in the oven. That’s why you need to stir it every hour. On the subject of the meat, the boneless short-ribs were wonderful. In the original recipe it calls for 2-inch pieces. We’ve found that to be too big and adjusted it to 1 inch pieces. It took nearly twice as long the first time because the pieces were too big. 1 inch pieces will allow it to cook faster and result in more tender meat.

The hardest/most tedious part of this recipe is the caramelization of the onions. You need those suckers very caramelized and you need to stand there and stir it for like 40 minutes. The onions should be nearly black, like you would see in french onion soup.

Sherry vinegar would be nice, I think the flavor would be richer, but we didn’t have any. We used home-made white wine vinegar and that was fine. I think it would be missing something if you didn’t add the vinegar at the end. It added a brightness you need.

We found that it needed to be adjusted with salt and pepper when it was completed. Be sure to use the entire teaspoon and a half of salt when seasoning the short ribs, I think that’s where our shortfall may have come salt-wise.

We couldn’t find blanched almonds or raw ones to blanche, so we used slivered almonds. Worked fine. YMMV.

We used one pound of white mushrooms, I think portabella would taste better, give it more mushroom kick, as oyster are kind of hard to find.

The stew was better the next day. It needed to be loosened up a little bit with some liquid. I suggest a little beef or chicken stock, but white wine or even water would do it. You won’t need much to loosen the leftovers.

We had ours with buttered mashed potatoes on the side, not mixed in. I think it doesn’t need to be mixed, it is very flavorful the way it is.

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Catalan Style Beef Stew with Mushrooms | 12 comments (12 topical, 0 hidden)
This looks intruiging by Herring (4.00 / 1) #1 Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 04:40:59 PM EST
I would ask: why white wine?

I did shin of beef the other day and that does require browning. Then, IIRC, I fried up onion, added garlic, carrot, herbs, stuff, 2 glasses red wine, chicken stock (yes, deliberate), cook for 3 hours, add shrooms, new carrots (the originals will have disintegrated), swede (rutabaga) and do for another hour. Yummers.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

Red vs White by Gedvondur (4.00 / 1) #2 Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 04:59:48 PM EST
Well, I don't have a reason myself, but the good folks over at America's Test Kitchen made it with Red and White wines and found that the reds tended to muddle/mute/overpower the pure beef flavor that the boneless short ribs had.  The white wine added the alcohol, brightness and other wine qualities you want without overcoming the short ribs.

To be honest, I am probably going to try it with a red at some point too. 

The other thing we didn't understand was why add water when you can add stock?  (The all-caps portion by that part of the ingredients list is by my wife)  To me, always add flavor when you can, provided it is complimentary and won't overwhelm the main ingredient.  To me, some beef or chicken stock would do that and help with the salt issue too.

"So I will be hitting the snatch hard, I think, tonight." - gzt
[ Parent ]
It's a fine line by Herring (4.00 / 1) #3 Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 06:31:32 PM EST
I think often I tend to overwhelm the natural flavour of stuff with too many things. I learned cooking from my mum and we couldn't afford expensive tasty cuts so it's easy to go for 8 x Garlic and Herbs^308.

Saying that, Worcestershire Sauce is a fine way of tweaking up the "tastiness" of something that's a little bland.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
Very true! by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #10 Tue Dec 03, 2013 at 09:50:33 AM EST
I like Worcestershire sauce for a lot of things.

Only thing I won't do is make it myself.  Process for making garum/liquimen is disgusting.

"So I will be hitting the snatch hard, I think, tonight." - gzt
[ Parent ]
Or even by Merekat (4.00 / 1) #11 Tue Dec 03, 2013 at 02:41:33 PM EST
Beer. Taking tips from the belgians.

[ Parent ]
Looks great by LoppEar (4.00 / 2) #4 Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 07:40:06 PM EST
The caramel onion / tomato base is interesting, similar to a spanish baked pork chop recipe I tried recently, as is the picada mix.

I agree on stock-whenever-possible, I save all my onion/garlic skins, pepper and carrot cutoffs, etc in the freezer along with trimmed bones etc, make stock whenever it's convenient. Mostly chicken-based but happened to have a huge pile of carrot greens recently and they made a nice veggie stock.

Hmm by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #9 Tue Dec 03, 2013 at 09:49:07 AM EST
I should be better about keeping trimmings like that for stock.  When I do make stock I just go out and buy everything that's needed.  This is doubly true since I have extra freezer space now.

Thanks for the good idea, I'll have to talk to the wife about it.

As to the recipe, it is absolutely Spanish, just like your pork chop.

"So I will be hitting the snatch hard, I think, tonight." - gzt
[ Parent ]
Yeah by LoppEar (4.00 / 1) #12 Tue Dec 03, 2013 at 03:09:05 PM EST
I've had more success this way than making big batches of stock and freezing that - it's as easy to save skins and ends and past-their-prime veggies and make the stock on demand from that. Same with always buying whole chickens, I've gotten pretty good at breaking chicken down, and throw the carcass and wingtips in the freezer if I don't have stock needs that week.

[ Parent ]
Hmmm by iGrrrl (4.00 / 1) #5 Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 11:13:24 PM EST
This looks like a serious contender.

Hope there are things you can do to help the throat.
"I honestly pity the stupid motherfucker who tries to talk down to iGrrrl" - mrgoat

Heh by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #7 Tue Dec 03, 2013 at 09:44:41 AM EST

Yes, there are. It will just take time.  Trying to take the long view of it.  Currently they are periodically expanding my throat with a balloon to stretch out the scar tissue.

"So I will be hitting the snatch hard, I think, tonight." - gzt
[ Parent ]
Try it with beef stock. by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #6 Tue Dec 03, 2013 at 06:59:55 AM EST
Beef stock, unless it's homemade, isn't worth the effort and doesn't have much beef anyway. IIRC that standard works out to 1 cu in of beef per gallon of water for store bought beef stock.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

Yes.... by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #8 Tue Dec 03, 2013 at 09:45:23 AM EST
While I agree about the beef stock, even store bought would be better than the water in the recipe, at least I think so.

"So I will be hitting the snatch hard, I think, tonight." - gzt
[ Parent ]
Catalan Style Beef Stew with Mushrooms | 12 comments (12 topical, 0 hidden)