Spanish Beef Stew - Spanish Sabores

Spanish Beef Stew

Cheap, easy, and comforting — Spanish beef stew is a delicious and hearty meal that is simple to prepare. If you’re a fan of impressive one-pot dinners, this is the recipe for you.

Spanish beef stew in a large pot

Every country has its version of beef stew, and Spain is no different. Spanish beef stew is also known as Spanish beef estofado, carne guisada, and carne en salsa. Its preparation varies depending on the chef, but it’s always comfort food at its best!

My Spanish mother-in-law makes her beef stew often. She uses cheap cuts of beef (like beef chuck) and a handful of vegetables (onion, garlic, bell pepper, and carrot). She finishes the stew off with diced potatoes, added only at the end so they don’t overcook.

I’ve adapted her classic recipe here to share what I consider the best and most classic Spanish style beef stew you’ll find. It’s super easy to make and just takes patience as you wait for the meat to become tender. It’s worth it — I promise!

See also: Fricandó recipe (slow cooked beef with mushrooms)

Close up of a bowl of Spanish beef stew

Key Ingredients

Ingredients for beef stew on a white marble background.

Key Ingredients: Beef, garlic, onion, bell pepper, potatoes, carrots, bay leaves, white wine, salt, pepper, olive oil.

Ingredient Notes & Substitutions

  • Beef: Ask your butcher for a piece of good stewing meat. I especially like using beef chuck that is well-marbled. In Spain, we often use leaner cuts (such as aleta or jarrete. These take a long time to cook but the results are delicious! Note that this recipe can also be used with pork — here in Spain we often switch them out.
  • Vegetables: I use the most classic combination of vegetables here. If you prefer to use red bell pepper instead of green, it works well. Shallots are also a lovely addition I’ve tried.
  • Potatoes: I like using small red or fingerling potatoes, or Yukon Golds. You want a waxy boiling potato that won’t break down in the stew.
  • Wine: Use red wine, white wine, or even dry sherry wine for this dish. Each will change the flavor, but each is delicious. I usually use what I have open!

Vegetarian Adaptation

You can get many of the delicious flavors of beef stew without the meat by using an assortment of “meaty” mushrooms instead. I love giant portobellos and oyster mushrooms, for example.

For this adaptation you would not need such a long cook time — 30 minutes should do and you can add the potatoes at the same time as the mushrooms.

Spanish Beef Stew: Step by Step

Like most good stews, this Spanish beef stew is pretty quick to prepare, though the hard part is waiting for it to finish cooking. Low and slow is the name of this game — it’s tough, but worth the wait!

Steps 1-2: Begin by sprinkling salt and pepper over your beef. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy pot (I used a Dutch oven) and when hot add the beef in batches and sear on all sides. Remove each piece once well seared.

Steps 3-4: Now add the diced bell pepper, onions, and garlic and sauté over a medium heat. Keep cooking, allowing the vegetables to become tender and browned (but don’t let them burn). Add a splash of water if necessary.

Steps 1-4 for making Spanish style beef stew in a grid

Steps 5-7: Now add the diced carrots and the wine. Let the wine reduce by two thirds, and then add back the seared beef and cover with water (or beef stock).

Steps 5-7 of making Spanish carne guisada

Steps 8-10: Cover the stew and cook on a low simmer for 1.5 hours. Then add the diced potatoes, and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes longer, or until the potatoes are cooked through. Taste and adjust for salt.

Your stew is ready to eat! If you’d like to thicken the sauce, remove a ladleful of broth and veggies (no meat) and puree it in your blender and then add back to the stew.

Steps 8-10 of making Spanish beef stew

Recipe Tips & FAQs

What to serve with beef stew?

Beef stew goes well with a lighter side dish. Salads and green vegetables (such as roasted asparagus or brussel sprouts) would make a great choice. A hearty baguette or similar bread is also recommended for sopping up any extra sauce.

What’s your go-to red wine for beef stew?

A hearty red wine is the perfect wine pairing for beef stew — a Spanish Rioja or Ribera del Duero wine would be excellent. If you can find Toro where you live, it would also make a great choice. And if you like sherry wine, serve beef stew with a hearty Oloroso sherry.

What are the most popular cuts of beef in Spain?

There are over 20 common cuts of beef in Spain. The most prized are solomillo (tenderloin) and chuletón (rib roast/large end). For beef stew many use aguja (chuck) or guiso de tapa (topside).

Spanish style beef stew in a white bowl with a pot of stew in the background.

Serving Suggestions

Beef stew makes a delicious and hearty meal and doesn’t need much else to accompany it. But I always serve it with a hearty baguette (a must here in Spain) and often with a green salad to cut through the stew’s richness. You can make a simple ensalada mixta or try my winter salad recipe.

More Hearty Spanish Stew Recipes

If you loved this comforting Spanish-style beef stew, then you should check out these delicious recipes too!

  • Rabo de Toro: The classic recipe for Spanish bull tail stew is simple and delicious.
  • Chicken Chilindron: Everyone loves this hearty Spanish chicken stew.
  • Tuna Stew: Craving something different? Skip the meat and go for this marmitako — a Basque tuna stew.
  • Beef and Mushroom Stew: Known as fricandó, this delicious stew is traditional in Catalonia.

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Close up of a bowl of Spanish beef stew

Spanish Beef Stew

Spanish style beef stew is a delicious and hearty meal the whole family will enjoy!
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Course: Main, Main Course, Stew
Cuisine: Spanish
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 543.88kcal
Author: Lauren

Ingredients

  • 1.25 lbs beef chuck (about 600 grams) you can use your preferred cut of stewing beef but chuck (aguja) works well. Cut it into cubes.
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 4 medium carrots peeled and diced
  • 3 medium waxy potatoes cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3/4 cup wine (180 ml) Both red or white wine can be used.
  • water to cover the beef
  • salt to taste
  • ground pepper to taste (whole peppercorns are also optional)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil to brown the beef and sauté the veggies

Instructions

  • Cut the meat into large cubes if not already done by the butcher and season generously with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy pot and brown the beef on all sides in batches (don't overcrowd the pot). Once browned, reserve on a plate.
  • Add another tablespoon of olive oil if necessary, and add the diced onions, peppers, and garlic. Sauté on medium heat for about 10 minutes until tender and browned (but not burnt).
  • Now add the carrots, a tablespoon of whole peppercorns (optional), and the wine of your choice. Stir and allow to simmer for a couple of minutes, until the wine reduces by two-thirds.
  • Add back the beef and the bay leaves and cover fully with water (or beef broth). Bring to a boil, then cover the pot and lower to a slow simmer. Cook on the stove for 1.5 hours, until the beef is tender.
  • At this point, uncover the pot and add the potatoes. Simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through.
  • Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Serve immediately, or for even more flavor, allow the stew to rest for a few hours (or overnight). Enjoy!

Notes

  • Beef: Ask your butcher for a piece of good stewing meat. I especially like using beef chuck that is well-marbled. In Spain, we often use leaner cuts (such as aleta or jarrete. These take a long time to cook but the results are delicious! Note that this recipe can also be used with pork — here in Spain we often switch them out.
  • Vegetables: I use the most classic combination of vegetables here. If you prefer to use red bell pepper instead of green, it works well. Shallots are also a lovely addition I’ve tried.
  • Spices: This recipe doesn’t use many spices, but you can choose to add whole peppercorns (about 1 tablespoon). This gives it a nice kick, though is totally optional.
  • Potatoes: I like using small red or fingerling potatoes, or Yukon Golds. You want a waxy boiling potato that won’t break down in the stew.
  • Wine: Use red wine, white wine, or even dry sherry wine for this dish. Each will change the flavor, but each is delicious. I usually use what I have open!
  • Water or Broth: You can use either to cover the beef, but if you already have beef stock on hand the stew will be even richer in flavor!

Nutrition

Calories: 543.88kcal | Carbohydrates: 37.49g | Protein: 31.57g | Fat: 27.24g | Saturated Fat: 8.71g | Trans Fat: 0.97g | Cholesterol: 97.81mg | Sodium: 190.65mg | Potassium: 1542.66mg | Fiber: 5.48g | Sugar: 7.22g | Vitamin A: 10334.6IU | Vitamin C: 44.25mg | Calcium: 79.33mg | Iron: 4.76mg
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