Dinner

Slow cooker Spanish beef stew

It’s that time of year, isn’t it?

A time for winter jumpers, scarves bundled around faces, hot cups of tea and warming food. When I think of comfort food, I always think of a good stew: piping hot, served in a bowl that I so desperately want to devour but have to start at the sides, blowing fervently on each spoonful so I can get stuck in.

This recipe came as a result of the fact that:

  1. I had acquired some beautiful spiced chorizo sausage and sweet, smoked paprika from a recent trip to Spain.
  2. I knew I would be out all in the cold all day and that my tummy would be thankful on returning to a hot, cooked dinner.
  3. I had vegetables that needed using (this is often the starting point of any inspiration- what have I got that needs used up?)
  4. I’m having to eliminate certain foods from my diet at the moment and wanted to experiment on a stew without the vital ingredients- onion and garlic (miss you, xo).

I used my slow cooker for this recipe, but you can also make on the hob in a large pan, leaving it to blip away on a low heat during the afternoon while you potter around the house.

This dish is also low FODMAP, gluten and dairy free. This isn’t essential to a lot of people, so feel free to add onions and garlic while frying the meat in the beginning (I would). Other tasty additions would be a can of butter beans, creamy and soft. Or instead of potatoes, adding dried lentils. Red peppers would also work wonderfully in this dish and add to the colour. Basically, the staples are the tomatoes, paprika, olives and chorizo which give that Spanish flavour. Feel free to play around with the other ingredients- cooking is all about making it your own and adapting it for yourself (and what you have in your fridge).

The mash came as an afterthought the next day when I was extra hungry, and turned out surprisingly good.

The fried egg on top is optional. As I said, I was hungry. And I do love eggs.

 

What you need:

Stew (Serves 8… or 6 hungry people):

  • 1kg braising beef, cubed (ask your butcher!)
  • 4 large carrots, roughly chopped into 2 cm pieces
  • 4 parsnips, roughly chopped into 2 cm pieces
  • 4 medium potatoes, chopped into 2 cm pieces
  • 1/2 firm chorizo sausage, finely cut into half moon slices
  • approx 20 olives (i.e. a good handful!)
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • glass of red wine (optional, yes. worth it, also yes)
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Worchester sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mash (serves 8)

  • 8 medium sized potatoes, roughly chopped (smaller than the parsnips)
  • 8 parsnips, roughly chopped
  • knob of butter
  • good grating of parmesan
  • oat milk (can use ordinary milk)
  • salt and pepper
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp smoked sweet paprika

What to do:

  1. Get out a large frying pan and add the chorizo. As the pan warms up, the chorizo starts to melt and cook, releasing the delicious fat which you can use to fry the meat.
  2. As the chorizo begins sizzling, add half the meat to the pan, season with salt and pepper, adding more oil if needed to stop it sticking. Turn and fry lightly until browned.
  3. Tip this first half (plus the chorizo) into the slow cooker, then repeat for the second half. (Adding all at once makes it more difficult to brown and cools the pan).
  4. Tip the 2 tins of tomatoes into the now empty pan to get them bubbling (always add hot liquids to the slow cooker), then stir in the spices, tomato puree, sauces and wine (if using).
  5. Add this to the slow cooker along with the rest of the chopped ingredients and olives.
  6. That’s it- prep done! Turn the cooker to low and leave for approx 8-10 hours. The meat will be falling apart by then.

 

For the mash:

  1. Boil the potatoes and parsnips together in a big saucepan (having the potatoes in smaller pieces means you can cook them at the same time).
  2. When soft (about 10 mins boiling), drain, and turn down the heat to low.
  3. Add a knob of butter, season well, grate in some parmesan (be as generous as you like!), a splash of milk, the mustard powder, paprika and a squeeze of lemon .
  4. Now MASH baby MASH!
  5. Add more milk or butter if needed to desired creaminess.

 

Tip: If the stew is too watery, tip the excess juices from the slow cooker into a pan and boil on the hob to reduce. A tbsp of cornflour stirred in approx 20mls water until no lumps can also be added to help thicken the sauce. Make sure to boil it and stir, stir stir!

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