Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Spanish Steak: Another Family Favorite

I’m on a kick right now, and apparently craving comfort food.  Not just any comfort food, but things I ate growing up.  I feel like every week lately I’ve been calling my mom for another recipe.

The best part is that now I can take these “old school” dishes and tweak them to my taste as well as make them a little healthier if needed!

First was the chicken stroganoff!  I was so happy to have that back in my life.

Next was the elusive “Spanish” Steak.  I put “Spanish” in quotes because I’m fairly certain the only Spanish thing about it is the use of Spanish olives!  My family has ZERO Spanish in it’s lineage, so I wouldn’t call this authentically Spanish by any means.


However it IS extremely flavorful and super easy!  I have no idea where this one originated, but for once it wasn’t the ‘ol Betty Crocker cookbook ;)  All I know is that my mom made it, my grandmother made it, and apparently my great-grandmother made it!

One of the key ingredients was classic Campbell’s condensed tomato soup, but I’d be willing to bet the Campbell’s soup back in my grandmother’s day didn’t have high fructose corn syrup or “flavoring”…whatever that is. 

That was my first change…the soup!  I went with Trader Joe’s Creamy Tomato soup, as I’ve noticed it’s flavor and creaminess remind me of Campbell’s.


The only difference was that I needed to add a little thickener (flour) as this is not condensed soup.

Another tweak I made was to add a LOT more veggies!  This stew bakes for 2-3 hours, so the veggies definitely cook down a lot and I am always craving more.  

IMG_1371I also used lean stew meat!


Mom didn’t specify what cut of beef to use, but for a slow cooking stew like this you can go with the less-expensive kind :)


Definitely bake some potatoes for this one too.

One more thing! Don’t let the olives scare you away if you don’t like olives!  I never liked olives and would just pick them out, but I could NOT resist the flavor this dish has!!!  If you’re not crazy about olives, I would add maybe half of them and just add some extra juice from the jar :)

Ok the recipe!!

Spanish Steak
adapted from my family’s recipe

Makes about 6 good size servings.

  • 1T olive oil
  • 1.5 – 2lb stew meat
  • 24 oz tomato soup *(SEE NOTE)
  • small (5 oz give or take) jar of Spanish olives (the green kind with the pimento in them), with juice
  • 3-4 bell peppers, roughly chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4-5 shakes Worcestershire sauce
  • 3-5 shakes Tobasco (depending on taste)**
  • 3-4 carrots, chopped in large chunks
  • 1T flour + 1T water

*the soup: I mentioned above I used Trader Joe’s Creamy Tomato.  You want to find a soup that’s JUST tomato…a simple tomato soup.  I bought one other can to try, can’t remember the brand, but it had basil in it…not okay.  Check the ingredients.  Creamy is better for this as well!

** I used maybe 4 or 5 shakes of Tabasco and it left a slight heat in my mouth but I wouldn’t call it spicy.  Growing up I never felt any heat from this dish, so you could go either way!

Pre-heat the oven to 350

In a large heavy bottom oven-safe pot (or Dutch oven), heat oil over med-high heat and add meat.  Cook 3-4 minutes, just until meat is browned on the outside.

Add soup, olives and their juice, pepper, onion, Worcestershire sauce, and tobasco.  Stir to combine and put in oven, covered.  Bake for 1.5 hrs.


(after 1 hour you might want to put in some potatoes to bake along with the stew!  This is what we always do!!)

After the 1.5 hrs: combine water and flour and stir to get rid of lumps, add this mixture to the stew, stirring well to combine.  Also add carrots at this point.

Continue to bake for another 45min - 1 hour, uncovered.


There’s just no way to make a beef stew look pretty.


Usually I’ll put a little butter on my potato…because if I’m actually baking a potato I’m having some butter on it :)  Then once I eat off the butter parts, I’ll pour some stew right over it.  SO good!

I hope you try this one out!  I have another recipe from mom I need to make as well, and I haven’t had it in years so I’m excited!

And just for fun…an outfit!

Actually this was what I wore to the Nespresso Dinner with Ted Allen!


  • red cardigan: Banana Republic
  • turquoise top: Banana Republic
  • Black crops with gold zippers: Banana Outlet!
  • Tan/Red pumps: Pour La Victoire

Love these pants!  I’ve been looking for some cropped black dress pants, and bonus for having fun zipper details in front!



  1. I love re-creating dishes from my family's recipes. This looks fantastic!

  2. Mmmm! I love this recipe, definitely flagging it for my next stew. Also, I'm pretending you didn't get to schmooze Ted Allen the other night because it's TOO COOL!

  3. This looks awesome - nothing like anything I've made. I am definitely not scared of olives :)

  4. cute outfit! The steak sounds great- love olives

  5. Love the gold zippers on the pants. super cute

  6. fabulous! I don't like olives- but I bet this mix makes the beef so tender and delicious! Cute outfit. Great pops of color!

  7. This sounds like a great meal. Sometimes I think I don't like olives, but then I have them and usually realize that I do really like them.

    Great to see you tonight!

  8. Have you ever tried making this dish in a crock pot? I want to try it this week :)

  9. I've never tried a crock pot but I'd have to think it would work! Let me know how to goes! :)