1.6kg braising steaks, cut into large chunks
3 bay leaves
small bunch thyme
2 bottles cheap red wine
2 tbsp oil
3 large or 6 normal carrots, cut into large chunks
2 onions, roughly chopped
3 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp tomato purée
small knob butter
300g bacon lardons
500g pearl onions or small shallots, peeled
400g mushrooms, halved
Plus overnight marinating
Tip the beef into a large bowl with the bay leaves, thyme, wine and some pepper, then cover and leave in the fridge overnight.
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Place a colander over another large bowl and strain the marinated meat, keeping the wine. Heat half the oil in a large frying pan, then brown the meat in batches, transferring to a plate once browned. When all the meat is browned, pour a little wine into the now-empty frying pan and bubble to release any caramelised bits from the pan.
Heat the rest of the oil in a large casserole and fry the carrots and chopped onions until they start to colour. Stir in the flour for 1 min, then add the tomato purée. Add the beef and any juices, the wine from the frying pan and the rest of the wine and herbs. Season and bring to a simmer. Give everything a good stir, then cover. Transfer to the oven and bake for 2 hrs until the meat is really tender. Cool. Will freeze for up to 3 months.
To serve, defrost completely overnight in the fridge if frozen, then place on a low heat to warm through. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a frying pan and add the bacon and pearl onions. Sizzle for about 10 mins until the bacon starts to crisp and the onions soften and colour. Add the mushrooms and fry for another 5 mins, then stir everything into the stew and heat for 10 mins more. Serve scattered with chopped parsley.
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