Spanish-style Beef Stew with Mushrooms
Serves 4 to 6
For the oyster mushrooms, remove the woody base of the stem before cooking. An equal amount of button mushrooms, quartered, may be substituted for the oyster mushrooms. Serve this stew with boiled potatoes.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, chopped fine (about 3 cups)
½ teaspoon sugar
Kosher salt and pepper
2 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, pulp grated on large holes of box grater, skins discarded
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 bay leaf
1 ½ cups dry white wine
1 ½ cups water
1 large sprig fresh thyme
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 ½ pounds boneless beef short ribs, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
¼ cup whole blanched almonds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 slice hearty white sandwich bread, crust removed, torn into 1-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, peeled
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/2 pound oyster mushrooms, trimmed
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1. For the Stew: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-low heat until shimmering. Add onions, sugar, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt; cook, stirring often, until onions are deeply caramelized, 30 to 40 minutes. Add tomato, smoked paprika, and bay leaf; cook, stirring often, until darkened and thick, 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Add wine, water, thyme, and cinnamon to pot, scraping up any browned bits. Season beef with 1 ½ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper and add to pot. Bring to simmer, transfer to oven, and cook, uncovered, for 1 hour. After 1 hour stir stew to redistribute meat, return to oven, and continue to cook until meat is tender, 1 ½ to 2 hours longer.
3. For the Picada: While stew is in oven, heat almonds and 1 tablespoon oil in 10-inch skillet over medium heat; cook, stirring often, until almonds are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer almonds to food processor. Return now-empty skillet to medium heat, add bread, and cook, stirring often, until toasted, about 2 minutes; transfer to food processor with almonds. Add garlic to almonds and bread and process until mixture is finely ground, about 20 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed. Transfer mixture to bowl, stir in parsley, and set aside.
4. Return now-empty skillet to medium heat. Heat remaining tablespoon oil until shimmering. Add mushrooms and ½ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl and set aside.
5. To Serve: Stir picada, mushrooms, and vinegar into stew. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.