Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Beef and chorizo stew

For those of you who like your stews wholesome and spicy, you may like to try this stew I concocted a couple of weeks ago. It was delicious enough for me to try it again the other day.

In my usual way when it comes to cooking (apart from baking), I tend to be rather hazy when it comes to being precise about ingredients. I know that some people prefer to be given exact quantities for ingredients so I’ve tried to provide some sort of guide as to how much of everything you need.

2 large onions
lots of garlic
olive oil
1-2 fresh chillies (or crushed dried chillies)
½ kilo stewing beef
3-4 medium carrots
10-15 shallots
3 large potatoes or 15-20 new potatoes
boiling water
1 chorizo (*) sausage
4-5 bay leaves
2 cubes of beef stock
red wine
lots of chopped parsley (**)
black olives (optional)

Coarsely chop the onions and 3-4 garlic cloves. It’s a good idea to peel them first! If using fresh chillies, chop them finely. Sauté the onions in olive oil with the oregano and chillies. This makes a spicier version of what the Portuguese call ‘refogado’ (onions sautéed in olive oil until brown and sweet). Chop the beef into 2-3cm cubes. Add the beef and stir until browned on all sides.

beef and chorizo
Chop the carrots into discs ½–1cm thick. Stir into the mixture together with the shallots. If using large potatoes, peel and chop into pieces the size of a new potato. New potatoes don’t need to be peeled or chopped but they absorb much more flavour if peeled (tedious!) or chopped in half. Stir the potatoes into the mixture.

Cover with boiling water and adjust heat until the stew is simmering quite vigorously.

Remove outer skin from the chorizo and cut into cubes about ½ cm thick. Stir ½ or slightly less into the stew along with the bay leaves and crumbled stock cubes. Stir in lots of crushed garlic. Add about 1 cup of red wine.

Add salt to taste but be sure not to over-do it as stock cubes can be quite salty.

Simmer for about 1 ½ - 2 hours, stirring the mixture each time it’s necessary to top up with more boiling water. Another cup of red wine can be added after an hour.

beef and chorizo
The beef and vegetables will be tender by this stage and the liquid will have started to thicken a bit. The chorizo, after softening in the beginning, will, however, have got harder as its moisture and flavour infuse the rest of the mixture. It’s still delicious so remains in the stew but is now joined by the remaining chorizo. Remove a few potatoes, mash them and return to the stew. This helps to thicken the stew. Stir in lots (not all) of chopped parsley along with the olives, if using them. If you’re a garlic addict like I am, you may want to stir in some more crushed garlic at this stage.

Simmer on a lower heat for ½ hour, stirring and topping up with water if necessary.

By the time it’s ready to serve, the newly added chorizo will have softened nicely. If you feel that the stew still needs thickening, stir in some thickening made from combining flour with the liquid from the stew. Make sure you stir it in carefully and properly as you don’t really want your stew swimming in lumpy liquid. And don’t over-do it as you don’t want to turn it into gloop.

beef and chorizo
Apart from the words of caution at the end, this stew is very simple to make. It’s delicious at any time but perfect for winter.

Serve on rice, garnished with lots of chopped parsley. And if you’re not concerned about all the starch you’re eating, provide crusty white bread for mopping up the juices.

(*) If you ever got to read my post on how I prefer Portuguese chouriço to Spanish chorizo, you may be wondering why I haven’t used chouriço in this stew. Quite simply, chorizo is readily available in the supermarkets here, chouriço isn’t. Incidentally, chorizo (and chouriço) can sometimes have quite a noticeable orange colour (probably from the paprika used to make it). My orange theme continues…....

(**) I’d like to try it with lots of chopped coriander.


Blogger Dawn said...

I have had an insanely busy week - so much so that I thought your interview was a week before you had it ... hence the premature good luck email. I am thrilled for you - congratulations! You should get used to saying a word that sounds like "do-e" instead of, "Cheers!" when you say, "Goodbye." Really nice news and thanks for the recipe. xxx

3:33 pm  
Blogger Caroline said...

Looks extremely tasty to me but I won't be able to try it as Jim's vegetarian and wouldn't appreciate it much!

(You really are living orange aren't you!)

4:49 pm  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

Thank you for the congratulations and the recipe which you eventually remembered to attach.

caroline: that's a shame, you not being able to make it, that is.

The orange theme certainly does seem to continue..

6:06 am  
Anonymous chitty said...

I am going to give this recipe a go. With my newly-acquired cooking skills, there is no way I can mess this up.
Looks very tasty indeed!

8:41 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, this looks absolutely scrumptious and just the sort of thing I'll love to cook and my monster man will adore (and consume entirely of course); thanks for this.

PS Your not yet forgiven for leaving me.

12:36 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yummy that looks like just the sort of thing a girl needs on a night like tonight when it's freezing miserable outside and she's working late.
D'you deliver...?

6:22 pm  
Blogger Guyana-Gyal said...

I don't eat meat either but this recipe is making me lust for some. argh.

I rushed over here to tell you, my lovely neighbour was in St. Africa, and she's back, and the things she tells me, she was in Cape Town...oh, the place sounds beautiful!! She sent me photos of the fat stone birds too.

7:15 pm  
Blogger Caroline said...

I've borrowed some of your image of your self when little to link to you in my pictorial blogroll. I think it looks great - much more fun than the usual list of worded links.

Please let me know if you'd rather I didn't use your picture this way.

9:56 pm  
Blogger Caroline said...

Glad you like it - thanks!

10:04 am  
Anonymous nyasha said...

Your "cozido" looks great. :) Could you access chourico (don't have the cedilha for the "c"...) in South Africa? Love your food posts, always mouthwatering.
Here is a little confession though, i have never tasted chourico because i don't eat pork.

12:24 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent. Kill some more animals you piece of shit. I hope you vomit it all up and choke to death. I`ll piss on your grave.

8:33 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remind me to accept an invitation to dinner next time you're back in Cape Town. You're cooking, of course.

7:48 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounds absolutely yummy> How are you dear? Big Hugs!

12:59 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've used your recipe for the second time now - the first time i made it was the first time i cooked anything that i subsequently fell in love with. As well as taking absolutely gorgeous, it reminds me of my childhood (portuguese mother!).
Thanks so much for providing the recipe online.

This time round i've done it without the chilli - the first batch was too hot for my children to eat - which meant that i had to eat more of it myself, but it was quite honestly the best spicy food i've ever had!

11:15 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn my spelling - should've been "As well as tasting absolutely gorgeous", not "taking". Hope it makes more sense now.

And I just noticed the offensive Anonymous comment 3 or 4 posts up - what a moron! I used to be vegetarian but never had such a sad attitude problem - and why on earth is an anti-meat fascist reading a recipe like this?? Amazing how people who purport to care so much about life are just using it as an excuse for vicious hate. Pity them and their sad lives.

11:27 pm  

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