I’d never heard of fricandó until last week when I arrived at culinary school and opened up my recipe for the day. But I was the exception– it turns out that most of my Catalan peers knew this dish well. They had grown up eating fricandó, a delicious beef stew with mushrooms. It’s one of those traditional dishes where every family has its own fricandó recipe. Even our teacher confessed that he makes his grandma’s version at home!
But for the purpose of the class, we made fricandó the proper way, step by step. I don’t have anything to compare it to, but it’s definitely one of the best beef stew recipes I have ever tried! Sometimes I find beef stew gloppy and stodgy, and everything tastes the same. This fricandó recipe has complex flavors (though is still simple to make!) and it doesn’t feel heavy at all.
This Catalan beef stew with mushrooms is made using beef shoulder or knuckle (part of the shoulder– called “llata de ternera” here), which is a very tough cut. But when treated with time and love, it becomes melt-in-your-mouth tender, especially with this delicious beef stew recipe!
Catalan Fricandó Recipe
- 1 lb (about ½ kilo) beef shoulder (or rump/chuck roast)
- Flour for frying
- Olive oil for frying the meat (about ¼ cup)
- ¼ cup dried mushrooms (if you can find them)
- ½ Tablespoon of salt
- Ground pepper
- Olive oil
- 2 medium onions, small dice
- 2 medium carrots, small dice
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- Herbs of choice (bay leaf, thyme, oregano, rosemary, marjoram)
- 1 cup of diced tomato (if buying canned, look for "petite dice")
- ½ cup (120 ml) red wine
- ⅓ cup (80 ml) dry sherry or port
- 5 cups (1200 ml) beef stock
- ½ cup fresh seasonal mushrooms of choice (whichever you prefer)
- 1 clove garlic
- Small handful of fresh parsley
- 8 toasted almonds
- 3 Tablespoons (44 ml) dry port or sherry (oloroso would be perfect)
- 1 fluid ounce of sweet anisette liquor
- 5 grams dark chocolate (a small chunk)
- ⅓ cup water
- Clean the meat of any nerves or tendons and cut into chunks
- Season the meat with salt and pepper, and cover in flour (shake off any excess)
- Brown the meat on all sides in a heavy pot covered with olive oil, then remove the meat and reserve for later
- If using dried mushrooms, cover them with water to hydrate
- Using the same pot and oil, sauté the onion and carrot until both are cooked through and golden
- Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, until fragrant
- Add the tomato paste and herbs, and sauté for about a minute
- Add the meat back in (and any juices that were released while resting)
- Cover with the diced tomatoes, red wine, and sherry/port
- Bring to a boil and then simmer until the liquid has reduced by half
- Add the beef stock and rehydrated mushrooms, make sure the meat is fully covered by liquid
- Cover the pot and simmer for about an hour, stirring every now and then
- Once the meat is tender and the stew is ready, sauté the fresh mushrooms in a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper
- Add the picada (below) to the stew to taste
- Add the sauteed mushrooms to the stew right before serving
- Enjoy! I love fricandó with a side of rice or mashed potatoes - pasta or roasted potatoes (or homemade french fries) are great too!
- Put all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until it is a smooth paste
- Heat the stew and stir in the picada, a spoonful at a time. Taste as you go (some prefer only a little of the picada because of its strong flavor.
What do you think about this traditional fricandó recipe? I promise that despite the many steps, it’s pretty easy and no fuss. The picada is optional (but adds a great flavor). It’s definitely become one of my favorite beef and mushroom stew recipes!
More delicious Spanish stews
- Chickpea and spinach stew
- White bean and chorizo stew
- Spanish bull tail stew (Rabo de Toro)
- Catalan fish stew
What’s your favorite stew recipe? Leave a comment below!