Thursday, 8 March 2012

Braised Beef & Shallots ,,,

... a slow-cooked dish such as this one is perfect for cheaper and tougher cuts of beef. Not only will the gentle and steady cooking over a longer period soften the meat, but the red wine will also add a richness that simply melts in the mouth.


Serves 4
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 900 g (2 lb) piece stewing beef (such as topside or chuck) (Irish beef is champion), well-trimmed and cut into thick slices
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 litre (1 ¾ pints) beef stock
  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) red wine
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 12 shallots, peeled
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 180℃/350℉/Gas 4. Heat two tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan. Season the beef and fry in batches for 3-4 minutes until golden brown on both sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a casserole dish with a lid

Add the onion and carrots to the same frying pan and cook for 4-5 minutes until lightly brown. Using a slotted spoon, add to the beef. Sprinkle over the flour, tossing until evenly coated, then place in the oven for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring the stock and wine to the boil in a separate pan. Whisk in the tomato purée and add the herbs and garlic. Pour over the beef and vegetables so that they are nicely covered. Bring back to the boil, then cover with a lid and place back in the oven for about 1 hour or until the beef is tender but still holding its shape.

Strain the beef from the sauce and place in a clean casserole dish. Cover with cling film and reserve. Pass the sauce through a fine strainer and remove the fat. Return to a pan and bring to the boil, then season to taste. Pour back over the meat; reserving some sauce to cook the shallots in.

Heat a frying pan with the remaining oil. Add the shallots and cook over a fairly high heat until lightly coloured. Pour over the reserved sauce until just covered, then simmer gently for 10-15 minutes until tender. Stir into the beef casserole and reheat gently.

Spoon the braised beef and shallots onto warmed plates and serve with the creamy mashed potatoes and buttered swede.

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