Beef with tomatoes and olives

It is impossible to bring Spanish cuisine to a common denominator – it is incredibly varied, with each tiny village having its own specialty. The everyday cuisine is not overly complicated, and similarly to Provencal menus, the success of the meals is starting with the freshest and flavourul produce. 

This particular recipe must come from the Basque country – the Serrano jambon adds the smokey depth to the stew. 

Adapted for 4 people from “1080 recetas de cocina” by S. Ortega

Beef with tomatoes and olives
Carne Guisada Con Tomates y Aceitunas

  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 1 pound stewing beef
  • 1 large onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 very ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped serrano ham or prosciutto
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1t pinch of mixed dried herbs or 1 bouquet garni (1 sprig fresh parsley, 1 clove garlic, and 1 bay leaf tied in cheesecloth)
  • 1/2C pimiento-stuffed green olives
  • salt


1. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the beef, in batches if necessary stirring occasionaly, for about 10 minutes, until evenly browned with a slotted spoon and set aside. Drain off most of the oil, leaving some to cover the base of the pan, and reheat.
2. Add the onion and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes beginning to brown. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring for 2 minutes.
3. Add the tomato and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, breaking it up with the side of the spoon. Return to the pan, add the ham, and pour in the wine. 4. Season with salt, dried herbs or bouquet garni, mix well, and cook for about 5 minutes.  
5. Pour in water to cover, cover the pan, and simmer over medium for about 2 hours, until tender. 
6. Meanwhile, put the olives in a pan, add water to cover, and bring to a boil, then lower the heat, and simmer for  1 minute. Drain well and set aside. 
7. Uncover the stew, stir in the olives, and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes more. Remove and discard the bouquet garni, if used. Serve in a warm deep dish garnished, with triangles of fried bread.

I put my casserole in the oven for 1,5 hours at 350F and transferred to the slow-cooker for another 5 hours for the ‘fall-of-the-bone’ meat.

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