Estofado de Ternera: A Hearty Beef Stew from Spain

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Estofado de Ternera, or Beef Stew, is a classic dish that exemplifies the rich and robust flavors of Spanish comfort food. This stew is beloved for its tender pieces of beef simmered to perfection in a savory sauce infused with aromatic herbs and vegetables. Often enjoyed during cooler months or as a comforting family meal, Estofado de Ternera is a testament to Spain’s culinary tradition of slow-cooking and enhancing flavors over time.


  • 1 kg stewing beef (such as chuck or brisket), cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced (or 1 cup canned diced tomatoes)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish


  1. Brown the Beef:
    • In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef cubes in batches, browning them on all sides. This step adds depth of flavor to the stew.
  2. Sauté the Aromatics:
    • Add chopped onion to the pot and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.
  3. Add Vegetables and Tomatoes:
    • Stir in diced carrots, potatoes, red bell pepper, and tomatoes (or canned tomatoes). Cook for 5-7 minutes, allowing the vegetables to soften slightly.
  4. Deglaze with Wine:
    • Pour in the red wine, scraping the bottom of the pot to release any browned bits (fond). Let the wine simmer for a few minutes to reduce slightly.
  5. Simmer with Broth and Seasonings:
    • Add beef broth to the pot, enough to cover the beef and vegetables. Stir in tomato paste, bay leaves, smoked paprika, ground cumin, salt, and pepper. Bring the stew to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.
  6. Cook the Stew:
    • Cover the pot and simmer the Estofado de Ternera for 2 to 2.5 hours, or until the beef is tender and the flavors have melded together. Stir occasionally and check the liquid level, adding more broth if needed.
  7. Adjust Seasoning and Serve:
    • Taste the stew and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary. Remove the bay leaves. Stir in chopped fresh parsley just before serving.
  8. Serve Hot:
    • Ladle Estofado de Ternera into bowls, ensuring each serving has a generous portion of beef and vegetables in the savory sauce. Serve hot, accompanied by crusty bread or over cooked rice.

Variations and Serving Suggestions:

  • Slow Cooker Method: Prepare Estofado de Ternera in a slow cooker for convenience. Brown the beef and sauté the aromatics before transferring everything to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or until the beef is tender.
  • Additional Herbs: Enhance the flavor profile by adding fresh herbs such as thyme or rosemary during cooking.

Conclusion: Estofado de Ternera embodies the warmth and hearty flavors of Spanish cuisine, featuring tender beef simmered with vegetables in a savory sauce. This dish is perfect for comforting family meals or gatherings, offering a taste of Spain’s culinary heritage and the art of slow-cooking. By following this recipe, you can recreate the authentic flavors of Estofado de Ternera in your own kitchen, bringing a piece of Spanish gastronomy to your table.

Enjoy the comforting flavors of Beef Stew and savor the tender beef and savory sauce, creating a memorable dining experience that captures the essence of Spanish comfort food!

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Written by Robert Zelesky

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