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Foraging with Alexis Nikole Nelson.
A corner of the Andalusia region in southern Spain is home to sherry, the unique fortified wine that is produced in an area known as the Sherry Triangle. The city of Jerez de la Frontera—commonly shortened to Jerez—is one of the points of that triangle, and also the location of Mantúa restaurant, where chef Israel Ramos taught us his recipe for guiso de ternera, or beef stew. With tender, succulent pieces of beef, silky, supple mushrooms and a braising liquid rich with both sherry wine and sherry vinegar, the stew was familiar and comforting, yet deliciously different thanks to the wine’s tangy, nutty notes and the aged woodsiness and mellow acidity of the vinegar. We adapted Ramos’ recipe, adding turnip along with the carrots and cinnamon to complement the wine. There are many varieties of sherry, each with unique characteristics, but for this recipe simply seek a fino or manzanilla sherry—both are dry, bright and light, and therefore excellent counterpoints for the richness of the beef and mushrooms. If you wish to make a stew with deeper, weightier flavors, try amontillado or palo cortado, darker and more full-bodied types of sherry. As for the sherry vinegar, if you can spare the expense, opt for gran reserva which is aged for at least 10 years and has a smooth, complex flavor, balanced acidity and mahogany hue. If that’s not an option, reserva or any aged sherry vinegar, though less nuanced than gran reserva, will work perfectly well.
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
pounds boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1- to 1½-inch pieces
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