Portuguese-Style Beef Stew (Alcatra)
Why This Recipe Works
Alcatra, a classic and simple Portuguese beef stew, features tender chunks of beef braised with onions, garlic, warm spices, and wine. Unlike beef stews that require searing the beef to build savory flavor or adding flavor boosters like tomato paste and anchovies, this recipe skips those steps and ingredients, highlighting the warm and bright flavors of the spices and wine as much as the meatiness of the beef. We use beef shank because it is lean (which means the cooking liquid doesn’t need to be skimmed) and full of collagen, which breaks down into gelatin and gives the sauce body. Submerging the sliced onions in the liquid causes them to form a meaty-tasting compound called MMP that enhances the savory flavor of the broth.