Since I started my blog, I’ve cooked more than I ever have before. I've discovered new flavours, I tasted new recipes and thrown away some of them. I’ve re-cooked dishes more than two-three times in the same day to achieve the perfect result. I've taken notes to improve textures and tastes and taken lots advises and inspiration from great people which I admire.
I’ll probably have a dozen of recipes written down in a notebook waiting to be cooked someday... or not... but I have another dozen of recipes that I cooked and photographed and for one reason or another, they haven’t been published on the blog. Yet.
The recipe I’m sharing today is one of those recipes that, inexplicably, I had stored in the archive list on my computer. It's called Fricandó, a slow cook dish eaten traditionally in Catalonia in St. Steven Day (26th of December). The two main ingredients are beef, particularly shin or shank cut, and mushrooms, this later an authentic gastronomic symbol in Catalonia, where gathering, cooking, preserving and eating wild mushrooms is practically a national sport.
The recipe also incorporates a very particular sauce and culinary technique of the Catalan gastronomy: the picada. It’s made in a mortar and the base ingredients are toasted almonds or hazelnuts, garlic, parsley and some liquid from the cooking juice. The picada gives an extraordinary finishing touch to the meat, full of flavour and a velvety texture. In addition, I like to sprinkle a handful of chopped hazelnuts all over, a habit passed down from my mum.
Since I can remember, I always used to help my mum prepare Fricandó. That's why this recipe is entirely hers. I loved to pick the most beautifully shaped mushrooms and carefully, wash and cut them. I might say that I felt a weird fascination about mushrooms, may be I still do.
Although my initial intention had been to publish the recipe in December, for some reason I didn’t, and then I thought of doing it in January... but here we are in March. After all, this dish is a good slow cook beef stew to keep you warm so it can be eaten any day of autumn or winter season really. But again, January was over and the recipe and photographs left to the oblivion.
Two weeks ago, however, I planned to make Fricandó for some friends who came over to have dinner at home so, finally I decided to bring it to light. Even though it might be nearly summer and I could have been typing this post with an ice cream in my hand, I still wanted to shared it!
The almost three hours of cooking are truly worth it, giving the result of tender beef that melts in your mouth. I also high recommend you make it a day ahead of eating it, to allow the meat to absorb the mushroom flavour and the wonderful taste of the picada sauce.
FRICANDO, SLOW COOK BEEF STEW
Fricando is a Catalan slow cook beef stew, simmered in white wine and mushrooms sauce and topped with a traditional sauce of the Catalan cuisine: the picada
Prep Time: 30 min | Cook Time: 2 hr | Serves 4
300 gr. wild mushrooms (shiitake, oyster...)
500 gr. beef (shin or shank), cut into thin strips
Salt and pepper
1/3 almond flour
1 onion, grated
2 mature tomatoes, peeled and grated
1 bay leave
1 cup of white wine
1/2 l. water
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1 clove of garlic
1 bunch of fresh parley leaves
1 bunch of chopped almonds (optional)
- Soak the mushrooms in a large bowl with warm water for 5 minutes. Then, strain the water off and set aside the mushrooms.
- Heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Season the beef strips with salt and pepper and roll them in almond flour until coated on both sides. Fry slightly on both sides (1 minute per side) then remove from the frying pan and set aside.
- Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a frying pan and cook the grated onion over a medium heat for 3 minutes, then add the peeled and grated tomatoes and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until you get a well combined fried of tomato and onion sauce. Then, add in the beef and let it coat with the sauce for 1 minute.
- Add in the bay leave and the white wine. Let the alcohol to reduce. Pour the water to cover the beef, scatter the mushrooms over the pan and season with salt. Simmer for 1 hour and half.
- While, prepare the picada. In a mortar bowl, grind the almonds, garlic, parsley and two or three tbsp of liquid from the cooking juice.
- Pour the picada over the beef about 10 minutes before it is ready and cook for 5 minutes further. Sprinlke with some chopped almonds and fresh parsley and serve.