Smoky Beef & Leek Stew

Recipe courtesy of Food & Wine



1 small red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 lemon

2 medium artichokes

1 1/2 pounds trimmed beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

Salt and freshly ground pepper

All-purpose flour, for dredging

1/4 cup pure olive oil

6 medium leeks, white and tender green parts, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

2 bay leaves

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon sweet pimentón (see Note)

1 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

20 peppercorns, coarsely crushed

1 cup dry red wine, preferably Rioja

1 quart beef stock or canned low-sodium broth



  1. In a mini food processor, puree the red pepper; scrape into a small bowl.

  2. Squeeze most of the lemon half into a small bowl of cold water. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, snap off the tough outer leaves. Using a sharp knife, cut off the top half of the artichoke and peel the base and stem. Cut off the stem and drop it into the bowl. Using a melon baller or a spoon, scoop out the furry choke. Rub the artichoke bottom all over with the lemon half, then quarter the artichoke and drop it into the bowl. Repeat with the remaining artichoke.

  3. Season the beef with salt and pepper and lightly dredge the pieces in flour. In a medium enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add half of the meat and brown over moderately high heat, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and brown the remaining meat in the same oil.

  4. Drain the artichokes and pat dry. Pour off the fat from the casserole and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the leeks and bay leaves and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are softened, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and pimentón and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the parsley, peppercorns and wine and simmer over moderately high heat for 5 minutes. Add the seared meat, stock, red pepper puree and the artichokes and bring to a simmer. Add a pinch of salt and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Season with salt and pepper and serve



MAKE AHEAD: The beef stew can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

SIDE NOTE: Pimenton is available at specialty markets in sweet and hot varieties.

SERVE WITH: Quartered new potatoes fried in olive oil and garlic.