Slow cooked stews are great. For many centuries they have been an important part of the traditional Spanish cuisine. However, they seem to come from a past time when people were spending longer hours in the kitchen. Unfortunately we don’t seem to have enough time to cook these days, and they’re slowly disappearing from our recipe books.
However, I don’t think it takes that much effort to cook a good stew. I myself cook them quite often as I’ve learnt that once you get them ready you can leave them simmering for hours whilst you focus your energies on something else. This is the case with this beef stew with chocolate, mushrooms and chestnuts.
This recipe today is the perfect late autumn, early winter stew. Although my favourite version is made with wild boar, there are slight variations of the same recipe all over the inland regions of Spain. And since wild boar is difficult to get these days, not to mention the price, today I’ll be using the much more humble onglet steak, also known as the hanger steak.
For those who aren’t familiar with onglet, this inexpensive cut is really tasty and gives excellent results when slow cooked in stews. But of course, you can also use shin, chuck, brisket or whatever beef cut you feel more comfortable cooking with.
- 500 g Onglet steak – alternatively shin, chuck, brisket or wild boar. Cut in medium-sized cubes.
- 6 Shallot – whole
- 0.5 White Onion – finely chopped
- 2 cloves Garlic – finely chopped
- 2 Carrot – medium-sized, sliced
- 1 Tomato – medium-sized, ripe, peeled and finely diced
- 8 Chestnut – peeled and roasted
- 250 g Portobello mushrooms – sliced
- 20 g Dark chocolate – at least 70% cocoa
- 150 ml Sherry – oloroso or amontillado. Alternatively any smooth red wine.
- 500 ml Chicken stock
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1 sprig Rosemary
- Heat the olive oil in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan and brown the beef. When browned, set aside and reserve.
- Stir in the shallots and toss them on a high heat. When slightly golden, turn the heat down and stir in the onion and the garlic. Cook until soft.
- Add the carrot. Then the mushrooms, cut into chunky slices. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the tomato, then the chestnuts.
- Pour in the sherry to deglaze the caramelized goodness off the bottom of the pan. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the beef cubes, add the bay leave, the rosemary and cover well with the chicken stock.
- Add the chocolate, stirring thoroughly until blended.
- Turn the heat down and slow cook for 3 hours or until the beef is soft and tender. Keep checking that it doesn’t dry out and add extra stock if needed.
- Season to taste and serve.