We hope you're enjoying our crazy podcasts. We're sure having fun! (It shows, right?) The whole thing's sort of silly. Who does comedy and cooking? Well, we do. (Also, gay.)
This stew is a great winter warmer, an aromatic mix that gets thickened with a breadcrumb/parsley/hazelnut melange when you serve it. Honestly, it's pretty straightforward in its technique. (Maybe that's why Mark had no problems?) The flavors are the thing, the complication, the grand force.
If you haven't listened to the podcast, it's in the media player up at the top of the main "recipe" page. Look in the center drop-down menu for this episode for great tips (and laughs). Or check it out on iTunes. Or click the link at the bottom of this recipe to open up a media player right in your own browser, thereby bypassing Apple and its minions.
This recipe is from THE ULTIMATE COOK BOOK. There's the link to get it right there in the title. (Convenient, no?) It's a 900-recipe tome. That's pennies a recipe. Seriously. It's also probably Bruce's favorite book we've written. And after twenty-eight, that's saying a lot.
So. The recipe. Here 'tis.
SPANISH-INSPIRED BEEF STEW WITH WHITE WINE AND HAZELNUTS
From Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough's THE ULTIMATE COOK BOOK (Harper, 2007)
Makes 6 servings
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 pounds boneless beef chuck or beef stew meat, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced into rings
- 2 teaspoons stemmed thyme leaves
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh sage leaves
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- One 750-ml bottle of floral, fairly fruit-laced white wine
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts
- 1/2 cup packed parsley leaves
- 1/3 cup pitted green olives
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and quartered
- 2 thick slices of stale bread, broken into pieces
- 6 Roma or plum tomatoes, chopped
1. Position the rack in the lower third of the oven; heat the oven to 350F.
2. Set an oven-safe Dutch oven or large covered cast-iron French casserole over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Swirl in the olive oil, then add the beef pieces and brown well, working in batches as need be. Don't crowd the pot; you want the pieces to get a dark, caramelized crust. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
3. Add the onions to the pot; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes.
4. Return the beef and any juices to the pot. Stir in the thyme, sage, fennel seeds, salt, allspice, pepper and bay leaves. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
5. Pour in the wine; bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits on the pan's bottom.
6. Cover and bake until the meat is fork-tender and the wine has reduced to a thick sauce, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
7. Meanwhile, toast the hazelnuts in a large skillet over medium-low heat until browned and aromatic, about 4 minutes, shaking the pan often. Pour the hot hazelnuts into a clean kitchen towel and cool for a few minutes. Gather the towel together and rub the hazelnuts against each other inside the towel to remove most of their papery skins.
8. Pick the hazelnuts out of the towel and place them in a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Add the parsley, olives, capers, garlic, and bread; process until finely ground but not powdery, like coarse, wet bread crumbs. Set aside.
9. Once the beef is tender and the sauce has reduced, take the pan out of the oven, discard the bay leaves, and stir in the tomatoes. Cover and set aside off the heat for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to soften. To serve, place about 1/3 cup of the hazelnut mixture in the bottom of deep bowls, then ladle the beef stew on top.