A few weeks ago I was sent a selection of wines by Frontera to take part in a blogging challenge to come up with two recipes using their wines for the chance to win a £500 holiday voucher. Frontera are a Chilean wine brand (retailing at £5.99 a bottle) who like to include a little poetry on their bottles. This is in the form of the traditional Chilean Lira Popular and for the Merlot, which I've used in this recipe, their poem is below.
It was a little blackbird // That gave me my name // Mirlo they called it // beautiful and dark //Two things we share // Along with a joyful song // Grapes with magical roots
I haven't browned the meat first for this stew, I've cooked it both ways and it tastes just as good adding the meat last, this also makes the preparation easier. To give a lovely thick sauce I've added a few generous handfuls of pearl barley to soak up just enough of the liquid and to make the stew more filling. The stew has a bit of a kick from the chilli powder which is just what you need if you're feeling the cold. It also has a fabulously rich smoky flavour from the smoked bacon and the smoked paprika, these are two of my favourite ingredients.
Ingredients - serves 6
1 large onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2-3 stalks celery, diced
6 rashers smoked streaky bacon, chopped
4 fat cloves of garlic, crushed
1.5 heaped tsp smoked paprika
1 beef stock cube, crumbled
1 tsp hot chilli powder
250ml red wine, I used Frontera Merlot
100g pearl barley
600g diced beef stewing steak
1 tin chopped tomatoes plus 1/2 to 3/4 tin of water
1.5 tbsp tomato puree
1 heaped tsp dried thyme
2-3 large dried bay leaves
freshly ground black pepper
1-2 tbsp olive oil
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan or flameproof casserole over a medium heat and fry the onion, carrots and celery for 5 minutes until slightly softened then add the bacon and garlic and fry for a further 5 minutes.
- Add the spices and the crumbled stock cube, stir well and cook for 1-2 minutes then add the wine. Bring to the boil and then simmer rapidly for 3-5 minutes until the wine has reduced slightly.
- Next add the beef and the barley followed by the tomatoes and water. Give everything a really good stir then add the herbs and season with black pepper. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to the lowest setting, cover with a lid and leave to simmer for 2.5 hours. Serve in bowls with crusty bread or with mash and some seasonal green veg on the side.
Serving the stew with a large glass of wine is also highly recommended. Although I'm not normally a fan of merlot (I tend to prefer cabernet sauvignon or shiraz) I actually really enjoyed this wine to drink on it's own as well as cook with. It was full bodied with a rich fruity flavour and not too dry.
Now on to the poetry.
On a cold winter's night// A bowlful of hearty stew's needed// to keep the chill at bay//
Flavoured with paprika// and a glug of red wine// It'll warm you up in no time
Disclaimer: I was sent 5 bottles of wine by Frontera to come up with a recipe to enter into their bloggers challenge. I was not paid for this post and all opinions and dubious poetry at the end are mine.