Last spring we were in the vibrant streets of Barcelona. With it’s beautiful squares and eccentric architecture came succulent and unforgettable eats! I think what I loved about Barcelona was wandering, eating and drinking. Fancy restaurants on the water front serving the best of seafood. Al fresco dining in bustling squares with colorful buildings and tasting the best of Catalan cooking. However the tapas, pintxos and pinchos, with pitchers of sangria and the evening negroni that’s what resides in our hearts. The taste, the memories of sharing it with friends and the smiles of the people who served it.
La Boqueria was all smiles for everyone. From fresh fruits, to seafood and even candy. Best of all were the little shack restaurants in there. As ignorant tourists who didn’t do their homework, we just were drawn by the looks and smells of the food of Bar Pinotxo. Later as we tried to recreate our favorite dish we realized how famous this spot was and the following it had! The owner Juanito has been cooking here everyday for the past 50 years or so and is the most unassuming chef out there…. quietly taking your order and serving it to you.
Since Bar Pinotxo is so far away…. as we dreamily long for the comforting tastes in our state of COVID lock-down… I tried to recreate this mother of comfort food, a hearty beef stew.
I used an instapot to make this dish but you could do this in the oven too. A dutch oven would be awesome but any oven proof dish would work too. Just do the first part of the recipe on the stove top and then move to the oven.
440 Calories per servings 6 Servings
Preparation Time 20 minutes
Cooking Time 50-60 minutes
1.5 pounds Bone in Beef or shortribs
3-4 table spoons Flour
2-3 tablespoon butter
3 Golden beets peeled and cut in large chunks (or any root vegetables)
1/2 pound Maitake mushroom (optional or any meaty mushrooms)
2 sticks Celery chopped
1 large Yellow onion chopped
4 Garlic cloves chopped
2 Large potatoes
1/2 cup Peas
2 Chopped Tomatoes
2 tablespoons Tomato paste
2 cans Beef Stock
2 Bay leaves
1 teaspoon Black pepper
1 stick Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Dried Thyme
2 teaspoons of Dried Parsley
2 tablespoons Orange rind
- Bring meat to room temperature massage the meat with olive oil, salt and black pepper. Then liberally dust with flour to coat the meat pieces.
- Get your heavy bottom pan really hot and put in 1-2 table spoon of butter. Iused the instapot all through the recipe. As soon as the butter melts add the meat pieces few at a time so that you don’t crowd your pan. Let the meat sear on one side and then flip over. Idea is to sear the meat on all sides. It should take about 1-2 minutes on either sides. This will lock in all the juices and prevent the meat from getting dry.
3. In the same pan if needed add another tablespoon of butter or less and lower the heat to medium. Add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick and cloves, let it sizzle for a few seconds. Saute onions, celery and garlic with a dash of salt. Cover and let them sweat in between stirs. They will become translucent and soften and golden brown.
4. Add in the root vegetables of your choice. Keep the vegetables large and chunky, as the stew will cook under pressure or slow cook in the oven, small pieces will just melt away and disintegrate. Don’t add the potatoes at this time for the same reason!
5. Add in the chopped tomatoes, season with salt and saute till they are softened.
6. Add the dried herbs and tomato paste, stir it in and cover for 3-5 minutes.
7. Add in the beef broth and taste it to adjust the seasoning.
8. Toss in the browned meat and place the instapot on high pressure for 12 minutes and natural release for 10 minutes.
9. Open the instapot and add roughly chopped mushrooms, peas, orange rind and the potatoes (cut in large chunks). Place it on high pressure for another 10 minutes.
10. Enjoy the stew with crusty bread. On a cool day its should warm you up and on a warm day fill you up with flavor. I love the mild orange flavor that the rind infuses in this this dish.