Chef’s Dish: Slow cooked stew is famous Spanish fare

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From Sunday breakfast in Madrid, to an after dinner treat in Meadowhall.

The difference between the two, and not just in miles, is vast.

Tapas Revolution Meadowhall. Picture: Andrew Roe

Tapas Revolution Meadowhall. Picture: Andrew Roe

But for Spanish chef Omar Allibhoy they are the two bookends of his dream to bring quality, authentic, tapas to the UK.

“Growing up in Madrid one of my fondest food memories is churros, we used to buy them every Sunday for breakfast”, said the man behind Meadowhall’s Tapas Revolution restaurant, part of a country-wide franchise and which has a seperate churreria stand.

“It’s a bit of a dream come true opening our churreria in Sheffield, it’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was a lad and is going really well after only six months.

“I’m in the kitchen at the moment experimenting with more dipping sauces, I think dulce de leche or café con leche works really well alongside the traditional hot chocolate.”

Tapas Revolution opened in Meadowhall in March 2016.

The ethos behind the chain is to connect people, as well as putting Spanish cuisine on the map.

Omar said: “In Spain tapas is more than just food, its how we connect and an excuse to get together.

“In the UK people meet for a pint, in Spain we go for tapas.

“Sharing food from the same plate brings us all a bit closer, its human nature to share what we have as opposed to eat your own thing. “When we go for tapas we generally hop in and out of a number of tapas bars eating and drinking the house specialty of each place.”

When Omar first arrived in the UK he was frustrated by the lack of good Spanish restaurants and that so few people cooked Spanish food at home.

“I decided to make it my mission to put tapas and Spanish cuisine on the map, and that’s where Tapas Revolution came from.

“I wanted to bring the casual, convivial tapas bars of Spain to the UK, with good quality authentic tapas.

“We only use products that are made in Spain – from the glassware to the soap, even the waiters’ cloths and pens.

“I deal directly with artisans and producers back in Spain; we don’t buy from catalogues - Pedro makes the chorizo for us in his old ahumadero smokehouse in Asturias, Aurelio who makes the most delicious Manchego from his skinny sheep.

“I personally know all the artisans and visit them regularly.

“I believe the product you use, when you want to keep things simple, makes all of the difference.”

As part of more recent projects Omar has been writing his new cookbook, called Spanish Made Simple.

It i ntroduces home-cooked Spanish recipes, dishes that he grew up with and cooks every day.

Recipes featured include tapas, quick mid week suppers, easy weekend lunches and Cordero al Chillindron, a traditional slow-cooked lamb stew with tomato and peppers, a signature dish which he shares here with Telegraph readers.

He said: “This dish is commonly found in northern Spain, it’s one of those ugly brown but very tasty slow-cooked stews Spain is famous for.

“You could use other meats for this dish, such as goat or chicken.”

CORDERO AL CHILINDRON SLOW-COOKED LAMB AND PEPPER STEW

SERVES 4

1kg (2lb 3oz) diced lamb

A pinch of ground cumin

100g plain flour

175ml olive oil

two large carrots, cut into thin strips

1 large onion, cut into thin strips

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips

½ green bell pepper, cut into thin strips

A few bay leaves

1 sprig fresh thyme, plus extra to garnish

4 tomatoes, peeled and chopped

A pinch of sugar

1 tsp sweet smoked paprika

200ml white wine

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fried diced potatoes, to serve

Season the lamb with the salt, pepper and just a little pinch of ground cumin, then coat with the flour. Heat the olive oil in a shallow frying pan and toss the coated lamb in the pan for about five minutes to seal the edges.

Remove the lamb, leaving the oil in the pan, and set it aside to rest.

Add the carrots, onion, garlic and peppers to the cooking oil along with the bay leaves and thyme and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 10 minutes and then add the chopped tomatoes with the sugar and cook for a further five minutes, until the ingredients are combined to make a tomato paste, or sofrito.

Add the lamb back to the pan with the sweet pimentón, white wine and 1 litre of water and cook over a low heat for a couple of hours, or until the meat is tender, adding more water if necessary. The result should be a rich, dense and silky sauce. Garnish with fresh thyme and serve with fried diced potatoes.

Credit: The slow-cooked lamb and pepper stew is available at Tapas Revolution, www.tapasrevolution.com.

Recipe from Spanish Made Simple: Foolproof Spanish Recipes for Every Day by Omar Allibhoy of Tapas Revolution (Quadrille £20) Photography: Martin Poole