Catalan Beef Stew

Or Estofado de Ternera a la Catalana, if you want to be precise. This concoction from northern Spain is easy to produce and has an unusual flavour due to the fact that it is one of the few dishes outside of Mesoamerica to incorporate chocolate. People do not usually associate chocolate with savoury dishes, but in so doing they miss out on a whole new spectrum of taste. Try it. You’ll like it.



¼ cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic, peeled, sliced.

1kg lean stewing beef, diced.

1 tbsp. flour.

1 tsp beef stock powder.

¼ tsp cinnamon.

salt and pepper to taste.

1 carrot, sliced.

1 stick celery, chopped.

1 leek, white only, sliced.

1 440g can crushed tomatoes.

1 cup glass red wine.

2 tblsp baking chocolate.

1 water [optional].



Peel and sliced the garlics and set aside. Mix together the flour, cinnamon, stock powder, salt and pepper and set aside. Prepare the carrot, celery and leek, place in a bowl together and add the tomatoes. Set aside.



Heat the oil in a pot over a hot flame and fry the garlic until starting to turn golden, Add the meat and sauté it until sealed, then add the flour mixture. Stir through then add the wine and stir through for 1 minute. Add the vegetable mixture to the pot and stir through. Add the chocolate to the pot, stir through and bring to the boil.

Lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for an 1 hour or until the meat is tender. Stir from time to time and add the extra water if the mixture is too dry. At the end of the cooking, remove lid and check the consistency. If too liquid, simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes to thicken and serve immediately.


Serve with: French-style bread on a bed of white rice.


Serves: 6.


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