Gluten Free Carnes de Rioja Recipe

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by Carol Kicinski on March 14, 2008

Last Friday was my birthday and the girls took me out to dinner at a tapas restaurant. The food was delicious and this got me thinking of how to add some Spanish flair to an old favorite Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Stew with Red Wine). Thus, Carnes de Rioja was born.

WARNING! This beef stew is not of the inexpensive variety where you take a cheap cut of beef and cook it for hours resulting in stringy beef and mushy veggies.

Years ago on a cold, blustery day I was having guests for dinner and I wanted to make something hearty and comforting. I thought a beef stew would be perfect. But I wanted to make it impressive so I added a bottle of red wine, used a filet of beef and I will never go back to using stew beef again. I have experimented with other cuts of beef like sirloin and chuck but the tenderloin is the BEST! So tender and delicious. And it is ready in half the time of traditional Boeuf Bourguignon.

I served this Carnes de Rioja on a bed of creamy polenta. Mashed potatoes would be great too.

This stew is even better the next day – making it perfect for stress-free entertaining. However, if you do make it ahead of time, don’t add the peas until re-heating just prior to serving. Otherwise, they turn all dully and unappealing looking (basically the very thing that gives peas a bad name!).

Gluten Free Carnes de Rioja Recipe


1 (2 ½ – 3 pound) filet of beef – trimmed and cut into 1” chunks
Kosher or sea salt
Smoked paprika
Olive oil
1 pound chorizo – casing removed, cut into small dice
8 carrots – cut into 1” chunks
2 yellow onions – cut in half and sliced
2 cloves garlic – minced
½ cup dry Spanish sherry
1 bottle Spanish red wine such as Rioja
2 cups gluten free beef stock plus 2 – 3 tablespoons for slurry
1 tablespoon tomato paste
6 – 8 sprigs fresh thyme – plus additional for garnish
2 bay leaves
1 pound mushrooms – stems removed and thickly sliced
½ pound frozen small white onions
½ pound frozen peas
2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot


1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, oven proof dutch oven or stock pot. Add the chorizo and cook over medium high heat until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate with some paper towel on it to drain.

3. Season beef cubes with 1 tablespoon salt, 2 teaspoons pepper and 2 teaspoons smoked paprika. Add beef in batches to hot fat from chorizo and sear on all sides, about 3 – 5 minutes per batch. Remove to a separate plate and set aside.

4. Toss carrots and sliced onions with and additional 1 tablespoon salt, 2 teaspoons pepper and 2 teaspoons smoked paprika. Check to make sure there is enough fat to brown the onions and carrots. If not, add another tablespoon or two of olive oil. Add the carrots and onions to the fat and cook until they are caramelized (about 10 – 12 minutes). Add the garlic and cook about 30 seconds. Add the sherry and cook until almost completely evaporated. Put the chorizo and the meat (along with any accumulated juices) into the pot. Add the wine, beef stock, tomato paste, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, cover with a tight fitting lid and put in oven. Cook until meat and veggies are very tender (about 1 – 1 ¼ hours).

5. While stew is cooking, cook mushroom in 1- 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until browned (about 10 – 12 minutes). Set aside.

6. Remove stew from oven when done and return to stove top over medium high heat. Remove thyme and bay leaves from stew. Create a slurry by combing cornstarch or arrowroot with 2 – 3 tablespoons of beef stock and mixing well. Stir into stew, cooking and stirring until thickened – it happens quickly. Add the frozen onions and mushrooms. Bring stew to boil then lower heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the frozen peas and cook for another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

7. Garnish with additional thyme leaves.


Serves 6

Carnes de Rioja – Simply Gluten Free

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Categories:    Main Dishes

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

linda March 14, 2008 at 2:48 pm

Happy belated birthday!
The Carnes de Rioja looks delcious! And I agree on using ‘better’ meat.


Aran March 14, 2008 at 2:52 pm

Oh man… you got me here! I’m from the Basque-Rioja region of Spain. I just read the nice comment you left on my blog, then I come here and I see Rioja and stew! Amazing!


Krysta March 14, 2008 at 5:28 pm

You actually made stew look good. Great pictures. Also, thank you for the nice comment you left on my blog also.


Nick March 14, 2008 at 6:46 pm

When tapas are done right, there is no comparison. Using filet is a genius idea, it is a little expensive but the flavor and tenderness is unmatched. I use filet in stir fry as well, especially since it gets spread around enough if you cut it thin. Melt in your mouth delicious.

This is making me drool, I miss Spain and little plates of olives =(.

The Peanut Butter Boy


S March 16, 2008 at 7:57 am

Happy belated birthday! I’ve been meaning to prepare a batch of stew for a pie. Your recipe looks delicious.


White On Rice Couple March 16, 2008 at 6:02 pm

Oh happy belated B-day! I’ve been wanting to add some more spanish flair to my cooking!


Elizabeth March 16, 2008 at 8:28 pm

Thanks so much for your comment on my blog Carol. I am so glad to have found yours! Your photos are stunning!


Cynthia March 18, 2008 at 12:52 pm

You’ve made me ravenous after reading this post.


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