A Spanish stew called “Chilindron” – that’s pronounced [chill-in-DRONE] – pungent with onions and roasted red peppers. And yes, there’s that color, that gorgeous dark-red color, that emerges as the braising liquid cooks down in the oven, leaving the meat cloaked in a flavor-packed sauce.
So who needs a new stew recipe? Not you? Me either, because really, just how many stew recipes does one cook need?
You already have your favorites, right? I do too: the Recipe Box here is already fat with long-time go-to recipes, all a little bit different.
A beef stew with mushrooms. And a beef stew with carrots and potatoes for St. Patrick’s Day. And another still, a Scandinavian beef stew with cranberries that especially fits the weeks before and after Christmas. There’s even a stew with summer sausage and zucchini.
And of course, my go-to Master Recipe for stew, the ever-so versatile Winter Stew that “just works” no matter what meat or vegetables or fruit you happen to throw into the pot. (That list? It's just the stew recipes for beef!)
But then again? Enter Hank Shaw – he’s the James Beard award-winning writer who blogs at Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook. Hank posted a recipe on Facebook for an any-meat stew with roasted peppers and instantly, I was smitten. Was it the mysterious dark-red color that so captivated? Perhaps.
Now recipes grab me a lot – five to fifty times a day – I’m fickle this way. But this time, my affection persisted and two days later, I thawed some meat and began to closely follow Hank’s recipe.
And now this is weird! It turns out that Hank was actually right here in St. Louis on his book tour that night – that very same night! And weirder still? Our good friends Rene and George were sitting with him at dinner! If I’d only known, we’d have been there too!
Instead, we enjoyed Hank’s “company” by virtue of his stew recipe – and enjoy we certainly did, every single bite.
Hank’s stew is a Spanish stew called “Chilindron” – he says that’s pronounced [chill-in-DRONE] – and it’s pungent with onions and roasted red peppers.
And yes, there’s that color, that gorgeous dark-red color, that emerges as the braising liquid cooks down in the oven, leaving the meat cloaked in a flavor-packed sauce.
So now I know: I did indeed need one more stew recipe. You just might too!
SPANISH STEW with ROASTED RED PEPPERS (CHILINDRON)
Time to table: May vary, depending on your meat, from 3 – 6 hours
Makes 10 cups
- 2 – 3 dried mushrooms, optional but excellent
- 2 – 3 pounds stew or game meat – lamb, beef, venison, elk
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 onions, sliced in half moons
- A little salt
- 10 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped cured meat such as cooked bacon, ham, pancetta, etc.
- Chopped hydrated mushrooms
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 15 ounces canned diced tomatoes
- 15 ounces jarred roasted red peppers, drained and chopped (if you like, save some to stir in just before serving)
- 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika (our choice) or hot paprika (Hank’s choice)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Cooked meat
- Mushroom soaking liquid and/or good stock
- Roasted red pepper, chopped, for fresh color
- Fresh parsley, for garnish
Heat oven to 250F.
MUSHROOMS Soak mushrooms in hot water until fully hydrated and soft, then chop. Hang onto the soaking liquid, we’ll use it later!
MEAT Slice meat into bite-size pieces (see TIPS). Sprinkle with salt and pepper and let rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy Dutch oven or braising pan with a cover until shimmery, add meat in batches to avoid crowding and brown on all sides. Set meat aside.
FLAVOR BOOSTERS In the same dish, add the onions, sprinkle with salt and let cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown – if needed to avoid burning or adding extra fat, “deglaze” the pan with a splash of the mushroom soaking liquid. Add garlic and cook for a minute or two. Stir in cured meat and chopped mushrooms.
BRAISING LIQUID Add wine and turn up the heat to boil hard, letting the wine reduce by half. Watch carefully, you don’t want to burn this, it’ll move quickly toward the end.
Add the tomatoes, roasted peppers, paprikas, rosemary, salt and pepper.
Stir in cooked meat. Add enough mushroom soaking liquid and/or good stock so that it comes up about 2/3 of the height of the meat pieces.
Bring to a boil, just to bring the whole mixture up to temperature before going in the oven.
OVEN Cover and place in the oven for about 1 hour. Taste and adjust the seasoning. If the meat is fully cooked and tender, uncover and continue to cook, checking every half hour, until liquid has mostly evaporated, leaving a thick, pungent roasted red pepper sauce, about another 2 hours.
TO HOLD Once the liquid reaches the thickness you prefer, put the cover back on, reduce the oven temperature to 180F and hold until ready to serve.
TO SERVE Just before serving, stir in a last roasted red pepper and sprinkle with fresh parsley. Serve with mashed potatoes or the like, something to mop up that gorgeous dark-red sauce.
Chilindron's Mysterious Dark-Red Color
Chilidron's gorgeous dark-red color emerges as the braising liquid cooks down in the oven, leaving the meat cloaked in a flavor-packed sauce. It can turn a little "one-color brown" while it cooks so I brighten it back the color back up with a few more roasted peppers stirred in just before serving. Don't forget the mashed potatoes, you want to sop up that sauce!
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