Spanish braised beef with tomatoes, white wine and saffron

This is another recipe from my Spanish cookbook Movida, and the first eight words that introduce the recipe sum it up perfectly: this is a simple and slow-cooked braise. That’s exactly what this is – and those words to me mean I’m in for a deliciously meal! No further words will introduce it better, so let’s cut straight to the recipe!

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 1.2kg beef shin
  • 150ml olive oil
  • 2 onions
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 peppers, any colour
  • 6 tomatoes
  • 400ml white wine
  • 5 carrots
  • 2 pinches saffron threads
  • 2 tbsp Spanish paprika


First, start by preparing your vegetables to save time and effort later on:

  • dice the onions
  • crush the garlic
  • deseed the peppers, remove any membrane and chop
  • deseed and dice the tomatoes
  • chop the carrots

Then you’re ready to properly start!

  1. Remove any obvious tendon from the cut of meat, and cut into 4 – 5 cm chunks. Heat 2 – 3 tbsp of oil in a large, heavy based saucepan on a medium heat and add the meat in batches, cooking until browned, and seasoning while it cooks. This will probably be about 2 – 3 minutes per side. Once done, set aside for now.
  2. Turn the heat down slightly, and add more oil if you need to. Then add the remaining oil and add the onion, garlic and bay leaves and cook for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion has browned.
  3. With the heat at low-medium, add the peppers and cook for another 10 – 15 minutes.
  4. Then add the tomatoes and cook for another 15 minutes or until the sauce is well reduced. Then turn up the heat and add the white wine, stirring everything together and scraping up any cooked-on bits from the bottom of the pan.
  5. Add the meat and enough water to cover the meat. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer for about 30 minutes, then add the carrot. Skim the surface to remove any oil or foam.
  6. Put the saffron in a cup and pour a few tablespoons of the broth over the threads. Leave to infuse for 1 minute the add the mixture to the pan. Add the paprika, stir, and season to taste. Then cook for 1 – 1 1/2 hours or until the beef is very tender (but not falling apart) and the sauce has thickened.

Movida then suggests bringing the pan to the table and allowing people to serve themselves, along with a good helping of fresh bread. As you can probably tell, when I served it I just had a side helping of kale, and on the second serving we had it with wild rice.


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