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Bold pops of paprika define beef stew in Croatia
Milk Street Bowtie Slavonian-Style Shepherd’s Stew

Slavonian-Style Shepherd’s Stew

3 hours 50 minutes active

Slavonian-Style Shepherd’s Stew

Free

From the Slavonia region of Croatia, čobanac is a meat-centric stew rich with paprika and thickened in part by shredded root vegetables that break down during a long, slow simmer. Though referred to as shepherd’s stew (čoban translates as shepherd), the dish traditionally is made with not only lamb but also beef, pork and wild game. To simplify, we opted to use only beef; chuck roast is our cut of choice for its meaty flavor, nice marbling and ample connective tissue that helps make a full-bodied broth. To achieve just the right amount of earthy flavor and an undercurrent of spicy heat, we use both sweet and hot paprika; if you aren’t able to find hot paprika, 2 teaspoons sweet paprika plus ½ to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper is a fine substitution. Simple dumplings are a classic—and delicious—addition to this stew, but they are not essential. If you’d like to include them, see the recipe that follows; the dough is made and added to the pot at the end of cooking. If you skip the dumplings, mashed potatoes or warm, crusty bread are excellent accompaniments.

2½ pounds beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and shredded on the large holes of a box grater
2 medium parsnips, peeled and shredded on the large holes of a box grater
3 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, stems minced and leaves chopped, reserved separately
4 tablespoons tomato paste, divided
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sweet paprika, divided
1 tablespoon hot paprika (see headnote)
3 bay leaves
1 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons brown mustard
1 bunch fresh dill, finely chopped
Ingredients
  • pounds beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 3
  • 2

    medium yellow onions, chopped

  • 2

    large carrots, peeled and shredded on the large holes of a box grater

  • 2

    medium parsnips, peeled and shredded on the large holes of a box grater

  • 3

    medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

  • 1

    bunch flat-leaf parsley, stems minced and leaves chopped, reserved separately

  • 4

    tablespoons tomato paste, divided

  • ¼

    cup plus 2 tablespoons sweet paprika, divided

  • 1

    tablespoon hot paprika (see headnote)

  • 3

    bay leaves

  • 1

    cup dry red wine

  • 2

    tablespoons brown mustard

  • 1

    bunch fresh dill, finely chopped

Directions
  1. 01
    In a medium bowl, toss the beef with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper; set aside. In a large Dutch oven over medium, combine the oil, onions and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, parsnips, garlic and parsley stems, then cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. 02
    Stir in 2 tablespoons of the tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until it begins to brown and stick to the bottom of the pot, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the ¼ cup sweet paprika, the hot paprika and bay. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Whisk in the wine and 6 cups water, then bring to a simmer over medium-high, stirring often. Stir in the beef and return to a simmer. Reduce to low, cover and cook until a skewer inserted into the beef meets no resistance, about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  3. 03
    Remove the pot from the heat. Tilt the pot to pool the cooking liquid to one side, then use a wide spoon to skim off and discard as much fat as possible. Remove and discard the bay.
  4. 04
    In a medium bowl, stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons tomato paste, the remaining 2 tablespoons sweet paprika and the mustard. Whisk about 1 cup of the cooking liquid into the tomato paste mixture, then stir it into the pot. Return to a simmer over medium-high, then stir in the parsley leaves and half the dill. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with the remaining dill.
  5. 05
    After stirring the tomato paste–paprika mixture into the stew, set the pot aside and make the dumpling dough. In a medium bowl, whisk together ½ cup all-purpose flour, ¼ teaspoon baking powder and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Add 2 large eggs (beaten) and 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill, then stir until a smooth dough forms. Return the stew to a simmer over medium-high, stir in the parsley leaves and half the dill, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Using 2 small spoons, drop the dough in 1-teaspoon portions into different areas of the pot. Return to a simmer and cook, uncovered and without stirring, until the dumplings are puffed and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Serve sprinkled with the remaining dill.
Tip: Don’t use double-concentrated tomato paste (the type often sold in tubes) or the stew will end up tasting too tomatoey. As you cook the tomato paste and vegetable mixture, don’t worry if the paste sticks to the pot and begins to darken; this browning helps build depth of flavor.
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Slavonian-Style Shepherd’s Stew

Get Ready to Cook

6

Servings

3 hours

50 minutes active

Tip

Don’t use double-concentrated tomato paste (the type often sold in tubes) or the stew will end up tasting too tomatoey. As you cook the tomato paste and vegetable mixture, don’t worry if the paste sticks to the pot and begins to darken; this browning helps build depth of flavor.

Ingredients
  • pounds beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 3
  • 2

    medium yellow onions, chopped

  • 2

    large carrots, peeled and shredded on the large holes of a box grater

  • 2

    medium parsnips, peeled and shredded on the large holes of a box grater

  • 3

    medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

  • 1

    bunch flat-leaf parsley, stems minced and leaves chopped, reserved separately

  • 4

    tablespoons tomato paste, divided

  • ¼

    cup plus 2 tablespoons sweet paprika, divided

  • 1

    tablespoon hot paprika (see headnote)

  • 3

    bay leaves

  • 1

    cup dry red wine

  • 2

    tablespoons brown mustard

  • 1

    bunch fresh dill, finely chopped

Step 1 of 5

Combine Ingredients In Dutch Oven

pounds beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
3
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2
medium yellow onions, chopped
2
large carrots, peeled and shredded on the large holes of a box grater
2
medium parsnips, peeled and shredded on the large holes of a box grater
3
medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1
bunch flat-leaf parsley, stems minced

In a medium bowl, toss the beef with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper; set aside. In a large Dutch oven over medium, combine the oil, onions and ½ teaspoon salt.


Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, parsnips, garlic and parsley stems, then cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes.

Step 2 of 5

Add Beef

2
tablespoons tomato paste
¼
cup sweet paprika
1
tablespoon hot paprika
3
bay leaves
1
cup dry red wine

Stir in 2 tablespoons of the tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until it begins to brown and stick to the bottom of the pot, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the ¼ cup sweet paprika, the hot paprika and bay. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.


Whisk in the wine and 6 cups water, then bring to a simmer over medium-high, stirring often. Stir in the beef and return to a simmer. Reduce to low, cover and cook until a skewer inserted into the beef meets no resistance, about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Step 3 of 5

Skim Fat

Remove the pot from the heat. Tilt the pot to pool the cooking liquid to one side, then use a wide spoon to skim off and discard as much fat as possible. Remove and discard the bay.

Step 4 of 5

Finish and Serve

2
tablespoons tomato paste
2
tablespoons sweet paprika
2
tablespoons brown mustard
1
bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves chopped
1
bunch fresh dill, finely chopped
Kosher salt and ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons tomato paste, the remaining 2 tablespoons sweet paprika and the mustard. Whisk about 1 cup of the cooking liquid into the tomato paste mixture, then stir it into the pot.


Return to a simmer over medium-high, then stir in the parsley leaves and half the dill. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with the remaining dill.

Step 5 of 5

To Make Dumplings

After stirring the tomato paste–paprika mixture into the stew, set the pot aside and make the dumpling dough. In a medium bowl, whisk together ½ cup all-purpose flour, ¼ teaspoon baking powder and ½ teaspoon kosher salt.


Add 2 large eggs (beaten) and 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill, then stir until a smooth dough forms. Return the stew to a simmer over medium-high, stir in the parsley leaves and half the dill, then taste and season with salt and pepper.


Using 2 small spoons, drop the dough in 1-teaspoon portions into different areas of the pot. Return to a simmer and cook, uncovered and without stirring, until the dumplings are puffed and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Serve sprinkled with the remaining dill.

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Slavonian-Style Shepherd’s Stew

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