January is drawing to a close, but it’s still a bit chilly out there. This is a perfectly good reason to indulge in a hearty stew that will fill and cheer. Lovely beef shin from www.forsterorganicmeats.com is slowly simmered in the oven in a rich smoked paprika sauce, and then served on a pillow of creamy mashed potatoes with a side of winter greens. I often make beef stews that can sit in a slow oven, it’s such a simple way to add flavour to an economical cut of meat and really doesn’t involve a lot of complicated preparation. I had it in mind to go a bit Spanish – thinking chorizo, paprika, peppers etc but surveying my fridge contents I found I had some Hungarian smoked sausage left from my trip to the Fatherland before Christmas. So this is my Hungarian/Spanish beef stew, paprika & peppers being common denominators in both cuisines!
Paprika Beef Stew
1 kilo beef shin, cut into 1 inch cubes.
2 tablespoons of plain flour
1 dessert spoon of smoked sweet paprika
1 large onion, sliced into half and then into half moons
1 ramiro pepper (the long sweet red kind), halved and sliced into thin strips
1 stick of celery, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
200g smoked paprika sausage (use chorizo), skin removed and chopped
568ml of tomato sauce (I had some in the freezer, but you can use chopped tinned tomatoes)
1 glass of red wine
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
salt and pepper
Toss beef cubes in the flour and paprika and set aside.
Heat a heavy based casserole dish (which can go into the oven, or use a heavy pan and transfer before adding the dish to the oven).
Add the chopped sausage and cook over a gentle heat until the fats begin to release their oils into the pan. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and pepper. Stir well to coat in the oils and cook for 10 minutes over a gentle heat until softening. Remove to a plate with a slotted spoon and set aside.
There should still be some juices left in the pan, but if not add a splash of olive oil or a tsp of lard. Turn the heat up and add the floured beef cubes, turn them to brown for five minutes in the pan, but be careful not to let the paprika burn.
Add the glass of red wine and allow it to simmer a little. Put the vegetables back into the pan, along with any flour and paprika that’s left behind from earlier.
Add the chilli flakes and tomato sauce or chopped tomatoes., season with a pinch of salt and pepper and give everything a good stir. Bring to a simmer then transfer, covered, to the oven, heated to 140C for 3 hours. Check occasionally to see if more liquid is required.
Once cooked through, the beef should be meltingly tender in a rich smoked sauce with a little spicy kick. Serve with mashed potatoes or plain rice or flat wide pasta ribbons and some greens on the side.