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Delicious Spanish-style Stew Recipe

This amazing Spanish style stew is excellent for any evening, and is also great for dinner parties and more. The shaved chocolate combines delightfully with the beef and other flavors to make a sinfully delicious stew. Serve with a nice crusty bread for a great winter meal.

Spanish Inspired Ste w
4 tbsp olive oil
2 1/4 lb stewing beef, cubed
1 tsp paprika
5 oz bacon, diced
1 large onion, chopped
5 carrots, thickly sliced
1 large leek, white part only, sliced
6 cloves garlic, smashed
8 oz brown cap mushrooms, sliced
4 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
3 tbsp flour
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 ham hock
1 cup red wine
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs thyme
1/2 cup Mexican brandy
1 1/4 cups beef stock
1 lb small potatoes, peeled
1 oz bittersweet chocolate, grated
salt and ground pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Heat half of the oil in a large skillet. Season the beef with the   paprika and fry in the skillet over high heat until browned on all sides. You will probably need to do this in two batches to make sure the meat is properly browned.

While frying the meat, heat 1 tbsp oil in a large heavy bottomed, oven safe pot or casserole. Fry the diced bacon over medium-high heat. When the fat is translucent and begins to run add the carrots, onion and leek. Cook vegetables over medium heat until the onion is soft. Add the garlic cloves, mushrooms and tomatoes to the pan. Cook over low to medium heat, stirring. Add the blower and cook for a few minutes.

Next add the beef and ground pepper to the pot, and season with salt. Place the ham hock in pot and bury into the mixture. Add the wine to the pot and stir, this will deglaze the pot, removing the browned bits of bacon and vegetables, increasing the flavors of the stew. Add the bay leaf, thyme, brandy and beef stock. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook in the oven for 1 hour.

After peeling the potatoes, boil in water for about 15 minutes. After the stew has cooked for the 1 hour, add the cooked potatoes and grated chocolate, stir and simmer on the stove for about half an hour. You will need to remove the ham hock, but make sure to remove as much meat from the bone as possible, returning to the pot, before discarding the bone.

Serve hot with crusty bread.
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