Smoked paprika is one of my favorite spices — it adds a layer of flavor that makes dishes seem more complex than they actually are. Since it’s a major ingredient in Spanish chorizo, it can also make vegetarian dishes taste meaty without the meat — it’s great in braised winter greens, for example. It would also be nice in homemade mac & cheese.
In this dish it brings a smoky deliciousness to another food I’m obsessing over lately: beef short ribs. You could use basic stew meat instead (3 pounds), but the bone-in ribs produce a rich, flavorful sauce that really can’t be beat. Serve over rice, polenta or mashed potatoes.
Adapted from The New York Times’ Beef Stew with Sweet and Hot Paprika.
4 pounds bone-in beef short ribs (English style, cut in 3-inch chunks)
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tbsp Spanish smoked paprika
1 sprig rosemary
1 bay leaf
3 large onions, roughly chopped
4 carrots, peeled and cut in 2-inch chunks
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 cups dry red wine
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp cayenne
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 14 1/2 can diced tomatoes, with their juice
Combine 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 tbsp smoked paprika. Rub the mixture all over the meat, and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Marinate in a large, covered bowl for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat up 2 tbsp of olive oil and brown the meat in small batches (avoid overcrowding). Add more oil as needed. Transfer the meat to a 5-to 6-quart dutch oven as you go. Add the carrots, bay leaf and rosemary to the dutch oven about halfway through.
Lower heat to medium. If you have a lot of charred spices in the skillet, remove by wiping with damp paper towels. Then add the remaining olive oil and onions and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in 2 tbsp smoked paprika along with the cumin, marjoram, cayenne and lemon zest.
Add wine and simmer for a minute, stir in diced tomatoes and then transfer everything to the dutch oven.
Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, covered, until the meat is tender, about 3 hours. Remove the meat and set aside, covered with foil to keep warm. Skim most of the fat from the sauce and then simmer about 10 minutes more to reduce a little. Add the meat back in and simmer another couple minutes, then serve.
Pictured: Pyrex Spring Blossom 2 403 Round Mixing Bowl; Pyrex Spring Blossom 402 Round Mixing Bowl; Corning Ware French White F-15-B Oval Casserole; Corning Ware Blue Cornflower P-10-B Square Skillet