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A warming Estofado (beef stew)

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The new year often brings with it a desire to cleanse the body clear our minds and clean out the kitchen drawers! A heady blend of a dry January, detox foods that promise to remove those extra layers after that extra piece of Christmas cake and of course the renewed effort at the gym. So with a slight bite in the Mallorcan air, it was a time to bring out an old trusted favourite, the Estofado which goes very well with a lovely bottle of red wine from one of our local producers…thats if it’s at least February when you are reading this!

This recipe brings the two great nations of Spain and Italy. A beef stew inspired by Rick Steins and some lovely little Canderli, (dumplings) thanks to the legendary Gennaro Contaldo. Sometimes the name ‘stew’ puts people off, but there is nothing better than a plate of this after a walk in the crisp air of the Tramuntana. Hope you enjoy this one.

Serves up to 6


1kg of stewing beef
2 tbsp plain flour
150g cubes pancetta
25g Sobrassada (optional)
1 onion chopped
1 tsp cinnamon

4 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsp tomato purée
4 large fresh tomatoes
1 tin of tomatoes

6 crushed garlic cloves
2 tsp pimenton picante
300ml red wine
300ml beef stock
3 bay leaves
4 sprigs of thyme
2 strip of orange zest
2 cinnamon sticks
Salt and Pepper
Olive oil


1. Cut the beef into chunks, season and dust lightly in flour​

2. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large casserole and fry of the pancetta and then remove

3. Brown off the meat in small batches and remove before adding the sherry vinegar to gather up all those lovely caramelised bits, reduce a little bit before adding the sobrassada to cook down for a couple of minutes

4. Add the chopped onion and garlic and fry together for about 10 minutes before adding tomato purée

5. Add back the beef and pancetta and let it all mingle for 5 minutes or so before adding the tin of tomatoes and the fresh tomatoes chopped into chunks

6. Let that all come together for 10 minutes then add the red wine and beef stock with the herbs and aromatics, check for seasoning as you go, bring to the boil then cover. You can now happily leave this low and slow on top of the hob or in the oven for 2-3 hours (150 Centigrade), basically until the meat is meltingly tender.

7. To help thicken you can make a picada with handful of parsley, 8 toasted almonds and a clove of garlic. Either pop it all in a blender or a mortar and pestle and blend it all together to create a paste with a splash of water. 

8. Stir it in at the end with about 20 minutes to go.

9. Depending on the time of the year I like to add some fresh pomegranates at the end

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