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updated: 12/7/2010 10:59 AM

Rioja Beef with Chickpeas, Peppers and Saffron

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  • Rioja Beef with Chickpeas, Peppers and Saffron from "Perfect One-Dish Dinners" by Pam Anderson

    Rioja Beef with Chickpeas, Peppers and Saffron from "Perfect One-Dish Dinners" by Pam Anderson
    Courtesy Judd Pilossof/HMH


3 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-to 2-inch cubes and patted dry

3 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil, divided

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large yellow bell pepper, cut into 6 pieces

1 large red bell pepper, cut into 6 pieces

1 large onion, chopped

3 large garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons sweet paprika

1 tablespoon ground cumin

teaspoon saffron threads

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup dry red wine

1 can (14.5 ounces) crushed tomatoes

2 cans (about 16 ounces each) chickpeas, drained

1 teaspoons finely grated zest and the juice from 1 large orange

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Heat a heavy soup kettle or a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven over low heat.

Meanwhile, place meat cubes and 1 tablespoon oil in a medium bowl and turn to coat. Season generously with salt and pepper.

A few minutes before cooking, add 1 tablespoon oil to pot and increase heat to a strong medium-high until wisps of smoke start to rise from the pan. Add peppers and cook, stirring, until lightly brown and crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from pot; set aside.

Working in 2 batches, add meat and sear, turning only once, until 2 sides form an impressive, dark brown crust, 5 to 6 minutes per batch. Transfer to a bowl; set aside.

Add remaining tablespoon oil to the hot empty pot, add onion, and cook, stirring, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, paprika, cumin, and saffron and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about a minute. Whisk in flour, then broth, wine, and tomatoes, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Return beef to pot. Using two potholders to protect hands, place a sheet of heavy-duty foil over pot, pressing foil down so that it touches stew. Seal foil completely around edges. Place lid snugly on pot and set over medium-high heat until juices bubble. Set pot in oven and cook for 1 hours.

Remove pot from oven and set over low heat. Carefully remove foil and stir in peppers, chickpeas, orange zest and juice, and a little water, if necessary, to make gravy. Remembering that pot and lid are hot, re-cover pot and simmer to blend flavors, about 5 minutes. Serve.

Serves six to eight.

Cook's note: It can be made and refrigerated up to 3 days ahead. Simply reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave before serving. As with the other stews in the section, you can easily double the recipe by using a large heavy roasting pan.

Wine pairing: A toasty medium-bodied Rioja Crianza

"Perfect One-Dish Dinners" by Pam Anderson (2010 HMH)