Basque Beef Stew

Basque is a coastal region in Spain that flanks the south of France. A subset of Spanish cuisine, but heavily influenced by French inclination, its cooking is characterised by, amongst other things, smoked paprika and roasted peppers. These, together with a typically full-bodied Spanish red like a tempranillo, form the core flavour profiles of a classic Basque Beef Stew. I didn't have a tempranillo on hand, so I substituted a cabernet sauvignon recently scored on my travels to wine country Down Under.

Ingredients (feeds 4):
1 kg stewing beef chuck, cut into 1" cubes
250 gm carrots, diced
400 gm white button mushrooms, sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
3 large potatoes, cut into 1" dice
1 large yellow onion, chopped finely
5 cloves garlic, minced
300 gm roasted bell peppers, sliced roughly
1 cup full-bodied rich red wine (tempranillo, pinor noir, or cabernet sauvignon will do just fine)
4 cups beef stock
1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves only
1 tbsp smoked paprika
Dash ground cinnamon
Dash chilli flakes

1)  Brown beef, salting liberally, in bacon-fat infused oil, working in batches and taking care not to overcrowd the browning pan. Set aside in stewing pot. With 3 tbsp beef drippings, fry onions, then garlic, for 3 minutes on medium-high heat.

2) Add carrots, frying for 1 minute

3) Add mushrooms, frying until water released is evaporated.

4) Add red wine, reduce half, and then add beef stock.

5) Add cherry tomatoes.

6) Transfer to the stewing pot with the browned beef, and add peppers.

7) Add fresh rosemary.

8) Add paprika, cinnamon, and chilli flakes. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for 3 hours or until as tender as you'd like.

9) Dump in the potatoes 10 minutes before serving. Salt to taste.

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