This classic French beef stew makes good use of cheaper cuts like chuck steak. The long, slow cooking in red wine leaves you with a rich and satisfying dish, best served on creamy polenta or fluffy mashed potatoes.
1.5kg/3lb5oz chuck or stewing steak, cut into 5cm/2in pieces
Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large saucepan. Add the carrot, onion and celery and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the wine, thyme, garlic, 2 bay leaves and allspice. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Allow to cool.
Place the beef in a large bowl and pour over the wine marinade. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.
Preheat the oven to 150C/300F. Drain the beef from the marinade into a colander over a glass bowl. Reserve the marinade and set aside.
Heat 25g/1oz butter and 1 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan. Add the bacon and cook until golden and brown. Add the shallots and transfer to a large oven-proof casserole dish.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large frying pan. Pat dry the cubes of beef from the marinade mixture using absorbent kitchen paper. Add half of the beef to the pan and cook until brown on all sides. Remove the beef and transfer to the casserole dish with the bacon, shallots and vegetables. Repeat with the remaining beef and add to the casserole dish.
Stir in 2-3 large spoonfuls of the reserved marinade mixture to deglaze or remove any sediment from the pan. Pour into the casserole dish.
Stir in the plain flour, the remaining marinade mixture and beef stock into the casserole dish. Bring to the boil, cover and place in the oven for 3-3½ hours or until the beef is very tender.
Halfway through cooking, heat the remaining oil and butter in a large frying pan and cook the mushrooms until just browned. Add the brandy and cook for a few minutes.
Add the mushrooms to the casserole dish, stir and return to the oven the remaining cooking time. Before serving, add the parsley (if using) and check how runny the gravy is - you may want to thicken it with cornstarch dissolved in a little water.
Another great recipe from www.cooksister.com
© J Horak-Druiff 2010