The city of Jerez de la Frontera—commonly shortened to Jerez— is in a corner of the Andalusia region in southern Spain. It is home to sherry, the unique fortified wine that is produced in an area known as the Sherry Triangle. We were lucky enough to visit there a few years ago and experience a sherry tasting.
This beef stew got its origins in the “triangle.” It features tender, succulent pieces of beef, silky, supple mushrooms and a braising liquid rich with both sherry wine and sherry vinegar. The stew is familiar and comforting, yet deliciously different thanks to the wine’s tangy, nutty notes and the aged woodsiness and mellow acidity of the vinegar.
Milk Street adapted the recipe, adding a turnip along with the carrots and cinnamon to complement the wine. They say for this recipe simply seek a fino or manzanilla sherry—both are dry, bright and light, and therefore excellent counterpoints for the richness of the beef and mushrooms.
The sherry vinegar? If you can spare the expense, opt for gran reserva which is aged for at least 10 years and has a smooth, complex flavor, balanced acidity and mahogany hue. But, if that’s not an option, reserva (which we used) or any aged sherry vinegar, though less nuanced than gran reserva, will work perfectly well.
After one hour with the pot covered, there seemed to be too much liquid, so we left it uncovered to help some of that evaporate. After the hour and a half elapsed, we still weren’t happy with how watery it seemed so we removed the contents with a slotted spoon to a covered bowl, and reduced the liquid another 10 minutes. The beef, veggies and mushroom slices were added to the pot for the final 10 minutes.
The perfect meal on a lazy Sunday afternoon after a massive snowstorm… in fact, we both agreed, the BEST stew we’ve ever had! Confession, we were wiping our bowls clean of any residual sauce…
The original recipe claimed it would feed 4 to 6. If you served it over polenta or mashed potatoes, maybe 4 to 5? We got three portions. Next time we’ll add in another carrot and an extra turnip to make it more veggie-forward.
*NOTE: Don’t use sherry cooking wine or domestically produced “dry sherry.” To get the right complexity and balance of richness and acidity, look for fino or manzanilla sherry produced in Spain. Also, avoid sweet sherry for the obvious reasons.
Spanish Beef Stew with Mushrooms and Sherry
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 lbs. boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1- to 1½-inch pieces
- 4 medium garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced ½ inch thick
- 1 small white turnip, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 tsp. sweet paprika
- 1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
- 1 cup fino or manzanilla sherry*
- 1 qt. low-sodium beef broth
- 2 Tbsp. good-quality aged sherry vinegar, plus more to taste
- 4 z. oyster or cremini mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
- In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the beef and garlic, then cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a medium bowl and set aside; reserve the fat in the pot.
- To the same pot, add the onion and 1 teaspoon salt; cook over medium, stirring often, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add the carrots, turnip, bay, cinnamon, paprika and nutmeg; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the sherry and bring to a simmer over medium-high, scraping up any browned bits; cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by about half, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Stir in the broth, vinegar and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Return the beef and garlic, along with the accumulated juices, to the pot. Bring to a simmer, then cover partially. Reduce to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until a skewer inserted into the beef meets just a little resistance, about 1½ hours.
- Stir in the mushrooms and cover completely. Reduce to low and cook, stirring once or twice, until the mushrooms are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Off heat, remove and discard the cinnamon and bay. Taste and season with salt, pepper and additional vinegar, if needed.
Adapted by Courtney Hill for Milk Street