Chilindron, Spanish Stew

4.94 from 65 votes
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chilindron recipe in a bowl
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Chilindron is a Spanish stew, and is one of my favorite dishes, so versatile that it stands outside the normal categories of venison, upland birds, etc.

Chilindron (chill-in-DRONE)  is dominated by roasted red peppers, paprika and onions. Most recipes also call for rosemary, olive oil, garlic, some tomatoes, good stock and wine.

The stew originates in Aragon, a part of central Spain. I first heard about this stew in the late, great Penelope Casas’ Delicioso! The Regional Cooking of Spain, but I’ve since read about a dozen other recipes for this classic in other Spanish cookbooks.

It is rich, woodsy, and bright, a perfect combination of the “red food” many of us crave (spaghetti sauce, chili, etc – think about the colors in your favorite foods and you’ll find many of them are reddish) with the slightly austere, piney flavors that mark European wild game cooking.

I make this stew every few weeks I love it so much; it is one of the few “standards” I will repeat on a regular basis.

As for what meat to use, the Spanish stew typically features lamb or chicken. This hints at the range this stew possesses. I have made chilindron with good results from chicken, pheasant, rabbit, beef, venison and antelope, wild boar and pork. There is no reason you cannot toss in whatever you like.

I suppose you could even make a vegetarian version with mushrooms. When switching from light to dark meat, switch from white to red wine, too. Other than that, I use this basic recipe.

I also have a recipe for a similar Spanish stew – caldereta – that’s thicker and cooks longer, making it well suited for meats with a lot of connective tissue, such as a venison neck roast.

chilindron recipe in a bowl
4.94 from 65 votes

Chilindron, a Spanish Stew

A versatile Spanish stew that can use any meat. It is dominated by paprika, roasted red peppers, and onions. You can also add rosemary and wild mushrooms, too.
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Spanish
Servings: 6
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 3 pounds chicken, pheasant, lamb, venison or rabbit, in serving pieces
  • 2 large onions, sliced root to tip
  • 10 cloves chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon hot paprika
  • 1 jar (15 ounces or so), or 5 roasted red sweet peppers, chopped
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups red or white wine
  • Stock if needed (whatever goes with your choice of meat)
  • 1/2 cup diced cured meat: Bacon, pancetta, ham, etc.
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Large handful of dried mushrooms (optional)

Instructions 

  • If using, put the mushrooms in a container just large enough to hold them and pour hot water over them. Cover and set aside.
  • Salt the meat and set aside for 20 minutes at room temperature. Use this time to chop the veggies.
  • Pat the meat dry and pour the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot that has a lid. Heat the pot over medium-high heat. Brown the meat on all sides in batches. Do not overcrowd the pot. Set the meat aside in a bowl when browned. Take your time and do this right. Add more oil if needed.
  • When the meat is browned, add the onions and stir to bring up some of the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the onions with a little salt. Cook until they begin to brown, then add the garlic, the cured meat and the mushrooms, if using. Cook until fragrant, then add the meat back to the pot and mix well.
  • Pour in the wine and turn the heat up to high. Stir and boil furiously until the wine is half gone. Turn the heat back down to medium and add the tomatoes, the roasted red peppers and all the spices and herbs (except the parsley). Stir well. The level of liquid should be about 2/3 the way up the sides of the meat. If it is low, add the stock. I typically need about 2 cups.
  • Cover and cook at a bare simmer — just barely bubbling — until done. How long is that? Depends on the meat. Rarely is any meat done within an hour, but I’d check a store-bought chicken then. I find pheasants and rabbits take about 90 minutes, boar, pork and hares about 2 hours, and venison and beef up to 3 hours or more. Use your judgment.
  • Right before serving, test for salt and add some if needed. Add black pepper and the parsley and stir well. Serve with mashed potatoes, rice, polenta or bread. Simple sauteed greens are a good accompaniment. A big red wine is also a must, ideally something Spanish, like a Rioja.

Nutrition

Calories: 459kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 89mg | Sodium: 500mg | Potassium: 514mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2426IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

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158 Comments

  1. This is one of my favorite recipes using elk meat. Hank Shaw is also my favorite chef. I have adapted the recipe to appeal to my household’s tastes. I like to double the quantity of roast red pepper, which I also roast fresh for this recipe. I double the fresh rosemary. I substitute a few tablespoons of tomato paste for the crushed tomatoes. I add about a dozen drops of liquid smoke just before the simmer. (Hank’s choice of smoked paprika may be smokier than mine.)

  2. Every time I make Chilindron I cannot believe how good it is. I add hot sauce to spice it up a bit.

  3. Fantastic! Used an African goose formerly employed as a chicken body guard around the farm along with roasted peppers preserved in oil as per Hank’s recipe.

  4. Is there any particular cut of beef you’d make this with? I’m sure chuck would be fine, but what about oxtails or London broil? I’d figure the latter would be closer to venison. We just got our 1/2 beef so pretty much everything is an option.

      1. Thank you, appreciate the response. I’m having Buck, Buck, Moose delivered this afternoon and can’t wait to check it out. Thanks for such a great site.

  5. I made this for the first time last weekend and loved it. I was inspired in part by a recent trip to Cabo, where I had a delicious, rich molcajete stew for dinner one night. I then found the Chilindron recipie in Buck, Buck, Moose, and decided it looked like a good use for a boneless neck roast from a bull elk I took a couple years ago. I followed the book’s recipe pretty closely, using home-roatsed ripe (red) Poblano peppers from last year’s garden. It turned out great and the spice level was both perfect for me (who likes things on the hotter side) and a hit with my significant other who prefers things on the milder side.

  6. I’ve made this several times with lamb. Oh so good. But now I’d really like to try an all mushroom version. Could you make some recommendations on type/ quantity? Appreciate it.

    1. Chris: Sure. I’d use porcini or morels, but if you can’t get that, buy those “chef’s sampler” packs you get at the supermarket, or shiitakes. I’d use a couple pounds of fresh mushrooms.

      1. Thanks Chef. Ended up with a couple of sampler packs, plus shiitake and good ol’ portobello. I caramelized about 2.5 lbs total in cast iron and added some coconut aminos at the end. Also added some smoked paprika to the overall recipe. Turned out better than expected, but still needs some more umami.
        Myabe more aminos or soy sauce. Next time, I’ll get mushrooms from the farmers market. Any other thoughts you might have would be appreciated.

  7. This was utterly fantastic! I really enjoy the flavor of venison itself and never want to hide the taste, particularly since I’ve been cooking with some lovely well-processed young does for the last few years, so this dish was a bit of a leap of faith — but it’s amazing, and the best use for stew meat I’ve come across in a very long time. Added a wild mushroom blend and served it alongside homemade buns with ramp compound butter and it brightened up this snowy evening significantly.