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Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate)3.46 out of 50 based on 24 voters.


Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate) | Meat Recipes WebPhoto 1


Preparation:
Cooking:
Difficulty: Easy

“Spezzatino con patate” is a beef stew, very common in Italy, especially in the north of the country. No one knows the origins of this dish. The spezzatino has some similarities, both with the Hungarian goulash and the French beef bourguignon; France, Italy and Hungary have all been interconnected for various reasons in the past (19th century), because of Napoleon invading the East or  because of the ambitions of the Austro-Hungarian empire who wanted to stretch towards the West. Northern Italy found itself invaded, and in the middle of these wars, and maybe it is here where we all shared something about this dish. In Italy, we use veal because it is the most tender meat and for this reason the dish does not require a long cooking time (between 45 and 60 minutes). If you use tough beef cuts, like beef shoulder for example, it could mean that you may need to cook the meat for some extra time (between 60 and 90 minutes). As usual, I like to cook my dishes with very few herbs, so for this recipe my choice is bay leaf. However, it would not be a mistake if you want to use sage or rosemary instead, but use just one of these. 

 

SERVES 4

Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate) | Meat Recipes WebPhoto 2

Ingredients (Metric & Imperial measurements):

  • 900 g (2 lb) Cubed beef (shoulder)
  • 450 g (1 lb) Potatoes (medium size)
  • 1 Large onion (finely chopped)
  • 200 g (7 oz) Baby carrots (leave them whole)
  • 40 g (1 1/2 oz) Tomato purée (see the note below)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 Beef stock cube
  • Olive oil for the initial sauté
  • Salt and black pepper for seasoning 
  • Some white flour for coating the meat
  • These are Imperial and Metric measurements. U.S measurements available at italyum.com

Nutrition facts: Calories 650 per serving.

 

Ingredients (U.S. measurements):

  • 32 ounces (2 pounds) Cubed beef (shoulder)
  • 16 ounces g (1 pound) Potatoes (medium size)
  • 1 Large onion (finely chopped)
  • 7 ounces Baby carrots (leave them whole)
  • 1 1/2 ounces Tomato purée (see the note below)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 Beef stock cube
  • Olive oil for the initial sauté
  • Salt and black pepper for seasoning 
  • Some white flour for coating the meat

 

Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate) | Meat Recipes WebPhoto 3

Note: if you want the finished stew to be noticeably red, use 40 g (1 1/2 ounces) of tomato purée, otherwise, for a more pinkish finish, add just 25 g (3/4 ounce).

 

Directions:

Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate) | Meat Recipes WebPhoto 4

Remove the eye from the baby carrots with a small pairing knife. Then, if you don’t peel them (as I did), give them a good wash, scrub, rinse.

 

Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate) | Meat Recipes WebPhoto 5

Coat the meat cubes with flour.

 

Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate) | Meat Recipes WebPhoto 6

Take a frying pan, add little oil and sear the meat cubes on a high heat. Remember to shake the cubes before adding them into the pan, so that you get rid of the flour in excess.

 

Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate) | Meat Recipes WebPhoto 7

If you have lots of meat cubes to sear, it is preferable to do it in batches. Once the meat has achieved a nice brown colour on one side, it is time to turn the piece of meat. Try to sear all the sides of the piece of meat.

 

Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate) | Meat Recipes WebPhoto 8

The searing of the meat should take only few minutes. Use a tray to temporary accommodate the meat pieces once browned (they will stay on the tray only for few minutes).

 

Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate) | Meat Recipes WebPhoto 9

While you are searing the meat, make your stock dissolving the stock cube in 500 ml (2 1/8 cups) of boiling water.

 

Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate) | Meat Recipes WebPhoto 10

Take a large pan (I used a 28 cm - 11" wide aluminium sauté pan), put a splash of olive oil (with the oil, if you like, you can also add a tiny knob of butter) and sauté the onion on a medium heat.

 

Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate) | Meat Recipes WebPhoto 11

After the onions, add the baby carrots.

 

Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate) | Meat Recipes WebPhoto 12

Give it a good stir and sauté for a couple of minutes or so, without letting the onion to get too much colour.

 

Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate) | Meat Recipes WebPhoto 13

When the onions are lightly coloured, add the meat into the pan.

 

Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate) | Meat Recipes WebPhoto 14

Give it a gentle stir.

 

Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate) | Meat Recipes WebPhoto 15

Add about 400 ml (1 5/8 cup) of the hot stock into the pan and reserve the remaining 100 ml (1/2 cup) for later (in case the pan content gets too dry). We don't want to cover the meat completely with the stock.

  

Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate) | Meat Recipes WebPhoto 16

Next, add the tomato purée and gently stir.

 

Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate) | Meat Recipes WebPhoto 17

Add the bay leaves.

 

Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate) | Meat Recipes WebPhoto 18

Bring the heat to low and cover with a lid. Simmer for about 60 minutes and during this stage, if the meat looks too dry, feel free to add the remaining 100 ml (1/2 cup) of stock left.

 

Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate) | Meat Recipes WebPhoto 19

Next, wash-peel-wash and quarter the potatoes. Put them into a pan with lightly salted cold water.

 

Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate) | Meat Recipes WebPhoto 20

Put the pan onto a medium heat and when the water starts boiling, boil for 5 minutes.

 

Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate) | Meat Recipes WebPhoto 21

After 5 minutes boiling, drain the potatoes and set aside.

 

Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate) | Meat Recipes WebPhoto 22

Here is the spezzatino after 60 minutes simmering. Now, it is time to add the potatoes into the pan. Give a gentle stir, so that the potatoes are well mixed into the stew.

 

Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate) | Meat Recipes WebPhoto 23

Cover with a lid and continue simmering for another 30 minutes. As I said before, the overall cooking time could vary depending on what type of meat cuts you have been using. As a general guidance I suggest adding the potatoes in the last 30 minutes of the cooking.

 

Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate) | Meat Recipes WebPhoto 24

15 minutes before the end, I remove the lid and if there is still too much liquid into the pan, then finish the cooking without lid. However, once you add the potatoes, these will usually have a thickening effect. 

 

Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate) | Meat Recipes WebPhoto 25

At the same time, just about 15 minutes before the end, taste and correct the seasoning to your liking, by adding some salt.

 

Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate) | Meat Recipes WebPhoto 26

Then, season with black pepper.

 

Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate) | Meat Recipes WebPhoto 27

This is the spezzatino after 90 minutes cooking. I checked the meat and it was beautifully cooked and tender.

 

Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate) | Meat Recipes WebPhoto 28

In Italy, we serve the spezzatino with polenta and a nice glass of red bodied wine is a must.

 

Buon appetito!

 

Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate) | Meat Recipes WebPhoto 29

This is a picture I took when I was in Italy, last winter, at my parents house. It shows spezzatino with potatoes and the unmissable polenta.

Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate) | Meat Recipes Federico

Federico Pezzaioli

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Beef stew with potatoes (Spezzatino con patate) | Meat Recipes Federico

Federico Pezzaioli is an ex-badass Italian Paratrooper on a mission - to make creating delicious authentic Italian food really easy. He researches, writes and photographs each recipe with the same attention to detail he used to apply to packing his parachute.
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