Pot of beef stew

Grandma Rosario’s Spanish Beef Stew

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This recipe was one my Grandmother taught my Mom to make, but I remember her making it more than I can remember Grandma making it. I can remember coming home from school or our playing with my friends and being overcome by the most incredibly delicious smell of this beef stew cooking in the kitchen. It is very distinctive. The garlic, tomato sauce and hint of cider vinegar create the most mouth watering aroma.

This stew is a favorite of my family. It’s comfort food. It’s aroma is the smell of love. And after we all eat it, it becomes the smell of…the family! 🙂 Lot’s of garlic!

It’s very unlike traditional brown gravy beef stews and in my opinion far more tasty. Grandma’s Spanish Beef Stew is no doubt the stew that Esau sold his birthwright to his brother Jacob for as described in the Bible (Genesis 25:29-34). It’s that good!

 This is the kind of dish you eat way past the point of being full! Make sure there is plenty to serve your guests. You can easily double or triple the recipe to feed more people if entertaining and they will absolutely love you for it.

I was at my daughter CC’s apartment the day I took these photos and we didn’t have all the necessary equipment (e.g. garlic masher, mortar and pestle, etc). But we were able to improvise. I’ll provide some links on where you can get some of this equipment, and provide links to “How To” instructions for some of the techniques (e.g. trimming meat, pealing garlic, using a mortar and pestle).

Recipe serves 4 people…depending on their ability to resist 2nds and 3rds…


  • 1 to 1-1/2 pounds of stew beef or London Broil cut in ~1″ chunks
  • 1 green pepper cut in large chunks
  • 1 medium (1/2 large) yellow onion peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 3 large carrots pealed, cut in 2-3″ sections
  • 3-4 potatoes (Yukon gold is best, but any will do). Cut into large chunks (~1-1/2″)
  • 1/4 cup – Spanish olives with pimentos
  • 8-10oz fresh, whole string beans (a bag of frozen, whole string beans works just fine!)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed with mortar and pestle
  • 1 – 15oz can of tomato sauce (NOT spaghetti sauce, sweethearts!). Have the can open and ready
  • 2 Tbsp – apple cider vinegar
  • 1-1/2 Tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp – dried oregano
  • 2 Tbsp – vegetable oil (stay away from Olive Oil for this recipe)
  • 1-1/2 cups of Uncle Ben’s Converted white rice (my preference, other brands will do, but…)


  1. In a 4-6 quart lidded pot, put in 2 Tbsp vegetable oil and heat on medium high heat.
  2. Add beef chunks and brown evenly on all sides. This will also create a kind of brown residue on the bottom of the pot called “carmelization”. Be careful not to over heat so that the carmelization turns to “carbonization” AKA “burnt” 🙂 Lower or remove from heat if necessary to prevent this.
  3. While meat is browning, peal and mash cloves of garlic in mortar and pestle. Add salt and mash again until garlic becomes liquified paste. Add dried oregano and mash again. Add cider vinegar and mash until mixture becomes a loose slurry.

    Mashing garlic, oregano, salt and vinegar in makeshift mortar and pestle. It is recommended that you invest in a real one because you will use this a lot.

  4. Once the meat is finished browning and still sizzling, add the garlic mixture to the pot and stir to dissolve the carmelization and coat the meat. Let cook 2 minutes.
  5. Add the can of tomato sauce to the pot, and then fill the empty can with water and pour the water into the pot. Stir around and start to simmer (bring to low, steady boil). Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain the simmer.
  6. Add the rest of the vegetables. Stir around.
  7. Cover the pot and maintain simmer for 70 minutes. Low and slow makes the cheapest, toughest meat like butter! The meat should be able to be cut with a fork when you are done. You can cook longer if necessary. DON’T RUSH IT by turning up the heat! That’s not how it works. 🙄 If you have a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, you can reduce the time to cook from 70 minutes down to around 15 minutes. Pressure cookers are amazing!

When done, serve over white rice.

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